Published Oct 09, 2019Devon Welsh has the unique and ongoing ability to feel eerily familiar while remaining completely alien. Using his distinctly minimal instrumentation as a backdrop for his earnest lyrics about all things love and relationships, Welsh has manifested something haunting for his sophomore record, True Love, only one year after his solo debut, Dream Songs.
True Love is, as fans would anticipate, more of the same characteristically profound and robust musings they've come to expect from Welsh. That's not to say there's anything redundant about the album — that would be false — but there's very little difference between the new record and Dream Songs (except an obvious omission of violin and cello this go around). In terms of instrumentation, the record is like a return to form to his Majical Cloudz days. Meandering synths and a rare spattering of acoustic guitar are used strictly for atmospheric purposes, and never get in the way of Welsh's intense, annunciated vocals.
The record is also home to one of Welsh's strongest track since his Majical Cloudz days. Fans should absolutely make sure to listen to "Grace," a sob-inducing, acoustic guitar-driven tune with some of his most poignant lyrics: "So when I go / I'll sneak through the window / Leave them note that says / I had to go with the flow." In this track we hear Welsh in one of his most vulnerable states — a space in which his art is at its most successful — drawing a seemingly unlikely comparison in its rawness to the work of fellow Canadian artist Alanis Morissette on her 1995 record, Jagged Little Pill. When Welsh is able to mine his distinctly raw, deeply human side for something as dynamic as "Grace," his work is nothing short of stunning.
Adhering conceptually to the album's title, Welsh takes True Love as an opportunity to compartmentalize everything he knows about love — platonic, romantic, familial or otherwise — into a compact but thorough collection of ten succinct, hypnotic and emotional tracks. (Independent)