Tin Angel Records is sending its troops out into the wild. The Coventry, England-based indie label is home to arguably the most eclectic roster on either side of the Atlantic, and its earliest (and perhaps most popular) troop, Virginia’s Devon Sproule, is heading to Europe with her newest studio record, I Love You, Go Easy, in toe.
Devon worked with Canadian producer Sandro Perri for the first time on I Love You, Go Easy, who she'd not met before. All Devons albums before were recorded by husband and fellow Tin Angel artist, Paul Curreri. Devon met Sandro for the first time whilst touring the northern border of the US. It was Sandro who suggested the band The Slit as Devon's backing band for this record. The Slit are a trio known as one of the few Toronto groups to successfully infuse the spirit of experimentalism into pop music – they frequently incorporate trombone, bass clarinet, flute and analog synth to give them their signature sound. Devon found that all three guys were highly trained, but were perfectly willing to put aside virtuosity in favor of a lovely crackle, or the perfect bleep or buzz. And they always kept a respectful eye on the song itself, which can slip away if you’re not watching. In the end, they’re your basic, run-of-the-mill trio of handsome, rebellious, minimalistic, emotional geeks. Can you tell that she grew to love them?
Sandro Perri was right: The Silt's sound suits Sproule's new material remarkably well, as it does the well-chosen covers: “Body’s in Trouble” by Toronto-native and cult heroine Mary Margaret O’Hara, and The Roches’ “Runs in the Family.” As usual, Sproule’s songs span the genre spectrum: “Now’s the Time” is a loose Neil-Youngish twanger made utterly original by the introduction of Ryan Driver’s searing analog synth. “If I Can Do This (I Can Do Anything)” is the floating, flouting mantra of the record. Doug Tielli’s staccato trumpet punctuates the jazz-influenced, call-and-response of “Monk / Monkey.” And the title track, “I Love You, Go Easy,” (easily Sproule’s finest vocal performance of her career) takes a slow walk with some of the most thoughtful piano voicings in recent pop memory.
I Love You, Go Easy, while sonically sparser than any of her recent records, is a thematically logical next chapter to Sproule's story. It's a story that has always revolved around her relationships with people – most notably, her husband, Paul Curreri, a fellow Tin Angel Records recording artist.
Even at its most somber and reflective moments, I Love You, Go Easy never loses the sparkling tenderness & humor that characterizes all of Sproule's work. Perhaps her true talent lies in her ability to net the universally shared and make it unique, to fix her spyglass on the everyday and show it anew, to prove it undeniably worthy of a fresh look.
Devon plays the following dates:
25/05/11 - Phoenix, Exeter
26/05/11 - Arlington Arts Centre, Arlington
27/05/11 - Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich
28/05/11 - The Junction, Cambridge
29/05/11 - Spiegeltent, Bath Fringe, Bath
31/05/11 - MAC, Birmingham
01/06/11 - Brudnell Social Club, Leeds
02/06/11 - The Sage, Gateshead
03/06/11 - CCA, Glasgow
04/06/11 - The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
05/06/11 - Cosmos Stage @ Middlesbrough Live Festival, Middlesbrough
06/06/11 - House Concert, York
07/06/11 - Band on the Wall, Manchester
10/06/11 - Gate To Southwell Festival, Southwell
14/06/11 - Peniche El-Alamein, Paris
15/06/11 - Tabernacle, London
16/06/11 - St John's Church, Coventry
17/06/11 - Royal Native Oyster Stores, Whitstable
18/06/11 - Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
20/06/11 - The Braid, Ballymena
21/06/11 - The Black Box
Buy tickets for selected shows via http://www.musicglue.net/devonsproule/ and receive a free digital EP.