Preoccupied with the melodies that guide its signature harmony from the moment we hit the play button, DEVORA’s “Wild West” is as close to a signature track as her new record God is Dead contains outside of its title cut, but its cosmetics aren’t the only reason why. A vocal-driven but still quite provocative instrumental affair, God is Dead is surprisingly subtle but packed with more emotionality than its minimalist lyricism would suggest to most, and much like “Wild West,” it feels tailored to the vibe of a young 2023. DEVORA isn’t an artist I was familiar with before coming across this EP, but it’s difficult for me to imagine her remaining under the radar of many critics like myself who have been demanding something darker out of the pop underground in recent years.
The fragility this artist presents us with in “Bonesaw” and “Pornstaris quite telling of her priorities as a recording artist, and her immense depth as a lyricist. There’s expressiveness to almost every angle of these tracks, from the lyrics to the way they’ve been constructed to create fluidity and a sense of continuity throughout the EP. I’m tempted to call it progressive but the term might be a little too suggestive for it to properly describe the aesthetical approach DEVORA is taking here. I’m intrigued by the conceptual elements in these songs, even if they weren’t meant to be saturated with camp and indulgence in the same way most progressive pop is, and if this is just a taste of her abilities I can’t imagine how powerful a proper full-length LP would sound.
From a lyrical point of view, God is Dead is both strong and a good demonstration of its creator’s personality to us without having to rely on a lot of the same metaphors you’d find across the alternative dial in 2023. By extension, there’s an argument to be made that some of the songs – like the title track or “Pornstar,” for example – might not have been as accessible to a mainstream audience were they not being performed by DEVORA and her sharp-as-a-knife lead vocal. Her voice is her trademark, and I don’t see many critics disagreeing with me.
I haven’t encountered many EPs that required as much of my attention right out of the box as God is Dead has, and I would even say that DEVORA should be considered one of the more credible young artists worth keeping a close eye on in 2023.
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Her skill set is allowed to run wild in this record, with songs like “Wild West” and “Bonesaw” giving me chills more than those typical of an indie pop EP would. DEVORA is onto something fetching in God is Dead, and I can’t wait to hear how she’s going to develop it in the next year to come – particularly if she’s going to continue focusing on the duality in her sound, the dark qualities in her instrumental constructs, and more than anything else, her charismatic use of contrasting poetic elements with bold melodic themes (which was what won me over more than anything else in these four songs).