Doug Burr- O Ye Devastator

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I’ve been listening to Doug Burr’s new album O Ye Devastator for the past couple of hours, and each time through I’ve noticed different nuances. For those who are unfamiliar with Burr, he plays alt-country/folk that moves between very subtle passages and louder melodic soundscapes. Although there are a ton of artists playing this style right now, Burr’s voice and the depth of his compositions will ensure that his music finds a special place in many people’s collections.

While it would be naive to pretend that vocals don’t matter in other genres, in alt-country/folk the power and pitch of a vocalist is more important than in other types of music. In these genres the majority of the space is filled up by the singer rather than the instrumentals, and because of this the vocals carry more weight. Thankfully, Doug Burr is more than up to the task as he has a wonderful voice that really grabs listeners and is sure to keep them absorbed in every single word. It also helps that he is a great storyteller and is also able to make it so that listeners will be able to relate to them.

The songs on O Ye Devastator move between laid back alt-country/folk that has sparse instrumentation and more rock oriented songs that feature melodic and atmospheric arrangements. Although the songs may initially seem a little simplistic, if you look a little closer and really pay attention you will notice that there is a lot more going on than you initially thought. From the banjo arrangements to the other instrumentals that pop up amidst the melodic guitar riffs, everything seems very meticulous and precise and it seems as though every track has something just a little bit different from the last. Admittedly there are a few tunes that don’t quite grab you as much as the others do, but this doesn’t happen very frequently and overall most people will thoroughly enjoy what this disc has to offer.

Doug Burr is certainly a talented songwriter and musician, and even though there are a few dull spots on O Ye Devastator there are more than enough breathtaking songs to make up for it. If you’re a fan of slower folk music that also has a tinge of alt-country to it, consider picking this one up as you won’t regret it. Hopefully a countrywide tour is planned in the future, as I could imagine this album really coming to life on stage.

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