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Album: DeVotchKa, A Mad and Faithful Telling (Anti)

When a band starts you working on a ridiculously diverse list of who their influences might be, and that list just keeps on growing (Strauss, Strummer, Morricone, Arcade Fire...), you know you're probably – paradoxically – dealing with complete originals. This Denver band's fifth and best album manages to deliver intense and cinematic epics (aided by a far from superfluous string section) while also indulging singer, Nick Urata's love of fragile octave-spanning melodies. From tormented, yearning torch songs to galloping Gypsy punk-pop, this is a lean, gripping, and fully rounded effort.

Download this: 'Undone': a confessional ballad with teeth and tumbleweeds