Pop review: Devlin disguise

The Devlins

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

With its vast arched roof overlapping in scale-like layers, it's easy to see why the Clyde Auditorium is known locally as "The Armadillo". Thinly spread across the expanse of stage inside, Dublin trio looked somewhat vulnerable, but as bass player Peter Devlin and guitarist/vocalist Colin Devlin took it in turns to build audience rapport, they soon found security in their well honed set.

The band have enjoyed considerable success in Canada and the US, where celebrity fans include Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette and REM's Michael Stipe. The fact that Colin has the rugged good looks and lilting brogue of the leading man in a Murphy's ad probably helps, but Waiting - a beautifully focused record blending tasteful samples with classic songwriting ideals - confirms that these boys are the real McCoy.

The venue's acoustics were extremely impressive, the PA stack sounding like God's CD system rather than the usual tower of muffled power. This proved to be the perfect medium for ' perspicacious lyrics, and, as wistful snapshots such as "World Outside" and "Surrender" rang true, they dangled subtle melodic hooks with the assured patience of trout fishermen.

I would guess that many of tonight's audience were Devlins virgins, and, though clearly gripped, initially the crowd exuded only the potential to be smitten. Perhaps this was because many of Colin's compositions are slow-burners and are simply just too clever to get in one pass.

It's this writing style, though - antithetical to the drum-it-in, wear- it-out ethos that spawned Kylie's "I Should Be So Lucky" - which is ' ultimate strength. You can come back to their songs time and time again.

It was a little disappointing that "Big Decision" and "Reckless", two of Waiting's strongest tunes, weren't aired tonight. The album's title track, though, a classic "list" song in which the protagonist measures his longing in units of stalled time, was a treat. There was a clever moment when, instead of trying to negotiate a rapid switch from acoustic guitar to electric, Colin simply left a verse hanging on a limb for 15 or 20 seconds. The audience recognised this visual echo of the song's sentiment and cheered. By now their intrigue was mutating into spontaneous gestures of appreciation.

They closed with "Heaven's Wall", introduced by Colin as "a folk song". His left-handed Stratocaster triggered sampled guitar arpeggios created by his brother Peter, and the tune's frugal melodies and understated arrangement hit home at an almost subliminal level. Then, just as the audience were getting a real taste for it, were gone. However you look at it, less is still more.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living