Review by Shannon Shumaker
Every other month in 2015, Kevin Devine has teamed up with a new artist for a split EP in his series, Devinyl Splits. For Devinyl Splits No. 5, Devine has tapped Owen (Mike Kinsella) for a beautiful two song acoustic EP.
Owen opens up Devinyl Splits No. 5 with unconventionally beautiful track, “Critical Condition.” With sweeping fingerpicking, the acoustic guitar is a constant throughout the whole song, but coupled with sporadic electric guitar parts and blunt lyrics, “Critical Condition” has a very real and down to earth feeling, on top of being very fun to listen to. The vocals in this track are soothing yet blunt and simple, and the lyrics tell a story, simple yet poetic. As “Critical Condition” progresses, it only seems to grow, gaining more of a structure and feeling bigger.
On Kevin Devine’s half of the split, he shares a theme with “Critical Condition” in “No One Says.” The storytelling in the vocals and the soft acoustic guitar picking is similar to Owen’s track, however this song is much more simple and easy going. Where the instrumentals are definitely the driving force on “Critical Condition,” the beautiful vocals and lyrics are the main focus of “No One Says.” This song is soothing and easy to listen to, and by the time it comes to an end, Devinyl Splits No. 5 has provided us with two easy going and fun to listen to tracks.
Both tracks on Devinyl Splits No. 5 are both strong for the same reasons, but different in their own way. “Critical Condition” is complex in the instrumentals, but soothing and simple in the vocals, while “No One Says” has classic soft guitar picking and beautiful vocal work. Despite their differences, though, “No One Says” and “Critical Condition” sound stellar together, creating another incredible Devinyl Splits EP.