From the lineup shadows of bands Fingers Cut Megamachine! and Lavender Diamond, Devon Williams emerges with his second solo LP, Euphoria. Though the LA singer/songwriter’s resume is heavy with So-Cal punk and indie folk acts, his new release is a weird, melted mass of gumdrop indie pop.
Off the bat, Williams’ color-saturated falsetto is full of quirks. Chiming and cute opener “Revelations” marches along as a pulsing, smiley track with sparkling flourishes. This holds promise, but, unfortunately, the remainder of the album erodes from this point on. Remember that awesome band that did the music for The Adventures of Pete and Pete? Polaris? Yeah, that’s what Devon Williams comes off sounding like a bad copy of in subsequent tracks. It just doesn’t fit. Over-exposed, sterile pedal effects and slow-jam synth pop isn’t the best match for the sunny opener.
Euphoria is unsure of what kind of album it wants to be, either shoegaze synth or smiley, jangly pop complete with adorable forest animals. “Your Sympathy” emits abrupt, fluttering guitars that could be ‘80s-ish, but Williams’ nasally vocals throw it all off. There is a community of cavity-inducing pop, bands like The Boy Least Likely To and Camera Obscura, that pull that style off well, but Williams is off the mark. Traces of retro ‘60s pop peek through in places, but the influences aren’t wrangled into the clean pop glazes enough to sustain interest.
“Favor Tree” and “Dreaming” continue to throw over-processed guitars at your ear with wobbling lyrics. Indeed, the beginning of this album is cause for optimism, but the “orchestrated soft-rock” (really? really?) wears quickly. Second-to-last track “Tired of Mulling” sums it all up quite succinctly: unexciting. Euphoria might strike a cute Fisher-Price xylophone note with a few, but overall, it’s a forgettable effort.
Essential Tracks: “Euphoria” and “Favor Tree”