When you meet an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while, you get that lovely rush of happiness at the sight of them, but then once the initial pleasantries are over with, you realise that you haven’t got much to say to one another. Once it’s over, it’ll probably be a while before you speak to them again. Devil is a lot like this. It’s a nice album, one that initially gets you on-side with its warm, soothing vocals and comforting, indie-pop songs, but after a few songs the initial pleasantries wear off and you start to feel as though the whole experience isn’t as rewarding as it first promised.
Leighton Antelman has an endearing, quirky tone to his voice which gives distinction to Lydia’s sound, but in terms of melody writing and vocal structure, there isn’t enough variation on offer. This is also true of the instrumentation, as the songwriting approach is formulaic and predictable, meaning that all the warmth and comfort offered by Antelman’s voice is unfortunately diminished by the predictability of its surroundings.
In isolation, this would simply make Devil an average album in the band’s repertoire, but what’s concerning is that this is now the second album in succession that’s been plagued with predictability and a lack of progression. Previous album Paint it Golden shared many of the issues addressed here and rather than overcoming them, Devil has compounded the problem. Ever the release of their incredible second album Illuminate, which still remains one of my favourite albums in this genre, they’ve been victims of their own success by not being able to reproduce the brilliance of that album. I haven’t given up hope entirely though; the live show that I attended last year was proof that there’s still a massive amount of quality in this band; I just hope they can harness that into an album that’s great from start to finish. Otherwise, I fear Lydia may become an old friend that I no longer have much to say about.