EP Review – Devan – Pink Noise

Devan has been pursuing a music career since she was a kid; the brazen 10-year-old dropped off a homemade demo – to no avail – at the iconic Olympic Studio, home to Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Now in 2021, the Toronto-born/London-raised singer-songwriter is gearing up to release her debut solo project.

Leaning into her wildly diverse musical influences thanks to a transatlantic childhood, Devan is creating her own voice by melding together her heroes, including the poetic songwriting of Stevie Nicks, James Taylor and Neil Young; and the pop vocal production of Florence + The Machine, Adele and Amy Winehouse. Her solo debut tracks, which have garnered more than 500,000 global streams, have been described as “mesmerizing” (Wonderland), “catchy hooks… spellbinding” (Earmilk) and “a magnetic tune that understands the gravitational weight of its pull” (Vanyaland).

Written and produced between Toronto and Los Angeles, Devan’s crew of collaborators include Adam Boukis (Timbaland, Saweetie, and Bruno Martini), Quin Kiu (Lil Mosey, J Ember), Tyler Shamy (Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Taeyeon), and features singer-songwriter Corey Harper on “Almost.”

On a debut EP release, Devan set out to create an honest introduction of who she is as an artist and producer, and a commitment to being honest as she reflected on the uncertainty that comes with navigating your 20s.

Pink Noise is about insecurity, but it’s also about being able to breathe out and feel a sense of relief towards my revelation that my reality is formed by my own perceptions,” explains Devan. “Writing songs for me is a way to uncover my underlying feelings about something – putting elusive emotions into tangible sentences, and coming to terms with them. My only guideline for writing these songs was to try to be as honest with myself as possible, and follow my instincts without all the self-inflicted barriers that I usually let get in the way.”

While distinct, Devan’s voice may sound familiar. She has spent the last 6 years honing her talents as a songwriter and live performer with Wild Rivers; the folk-pop band that she co-found and co-fronts, boasts over 140 million global streams and sells out venues across North America. The band’s 2019 release, “I Do”, scored Devan the top prize at the International Songwriting Competition placing her in front of judges Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Tom Waits and Bebe Rexha.

Devan’s solo project has been percolating since the moment she hit ‘record’ on her first homemade demo, and all these years later, she remains equally as brazen and ready to share her songs.

Now straight away, Devan is an artist quite unlike anything I’ve heard as of late, bending the genre into something she makes her own.

The EP opener ‘Almost feat. Corey Harper’ reminds me a little of Rewrite The Stars from The Greatest Showman but a much better version of the track with more heart and hard hitting themes so self sabotage gives a lot of food for thought and keeps you engaged in a way which is unparalleled.

Moving onto ‘Real Shot’, a real feisty track which just goes at a regular pace, but all the better to listen to upon repeat which shows that it’s one of the standout tracks in an EP which revolves around the multiple themes at hand. The harmonies are well placed and but he end it’s just heartbreaking the end of every listen.

Next up in ‘Make Up Your Mind’, there’s more beats than anything in this particular track which makes it part of the repetitive pop track formula that makes it a weaker part of the EP.

Despite the bleak title choice of ‘We’re All Gonna Die Anyway’, it’s far superior to the previous and just one that works a lot better. The music in the track launches itself in a way that the other tracks do not. In addition, the lyrics revolve around Devan to show what sort of headspace the artist was in for the track and it’s one which is truly heartbreaking but ultimately more powerful to listen to.

Penultimately, ‘Night Drives’ is just a track that Devan brakes out of her comfort zone and brakes down the barriers she’s set up for herself in the EP where the most melodic parts of the music just flourish together much better than most in the EP and one that goes down well in the overall structure of the EP..

Lastly, Conclusions takes the EP’s sound in a completely left field range as far as the previous tracks are concerned and pulls away with a cathartic and beautifully written ballad which is chalk full of emotion to encapsulate just what sort of an artist she wants to be.

While ‘Pink Noise’ isn’t the most sound EP in parts, it’s one which chooses quality over quantity and that’s what I appreciate more than just a bunch of filler tracks to tie me over until an artists next big release. Devan creates a safe space she brakes out of perfectly where some might consider it a little too safe, you have to remember the whole guideline for the tracks was to be honest with herself and that’s one which is wholly reflected in her lyrics. The decisions she makes with her music will only see her climb with the experience she’s gained from the making of this EP.

Rating: 3.5/5.

Check out ‘Pink Noise’ via your preferred streaming platform.

Check out the video for ‘Almost’ below.

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