Artist : The Devonns 

Album : The Devonns 

Label : Record Kicks

Rating: 9.5/10

Words : Chris Prenatt

Have you ever wanted to relive the sound of old school Chicago Soul? Or were you not born yet and missed out the glory of that sound? Well you’re in luck. Hailing from the Windy City, The Devonns bring back the glorious sound of decades past with their debut self-titled album. 

The soul quartet wear their influences on their sleeves, drawing inspiration from the greats like The Isley Brothers and Leroy Hutson as well as modern artists like Raphael Saadiq and Stevie Wonder. The Devonns put everything the quartet has into the album’s ten tracks, which works out well in the end since this is one of the most beautiful sounding albums you’ll hear during this dreaded quarantine. And with the world falling under dark times, this album is certain to put a smile on your face. 

Ajjarapu’s words “How long must we wait for the time for justice to be done?” ring true to right now

Every single track shines, and that comes to no surprise since singer Mat Ajjarapu is a major perfectionist. To him, if something didn’t sound right, he wouldn’t rest until the vision in his head was replicated in real life. “This is a definitely a throwback soul record, as well as being drawn to lush and intricate arrangements of Motown, I was also inspired by the more lo-fi works of smaller labels such as Chess and Capsoul, and I wanted to capture the magic they had in those recordings in our record, as everything feels too precise nowadays,” Ajjarapu explains. You can clearly hear all of that throughout the record, and that’s no lie. Thus explaining why the album is a beautiful, spirit-raising trip from beginning to end.

Kicking off the album is the slow and smooth track “Come Back,” a nearly four minute number which will make you sway your troubles away. The horns in “Tell Me” is one of the best dance numbers off the record. “So In Love With You” might seem like your basic love song, but the string arrangement easily makes this one of the highlights of the album. The protest song “Blood Red Blues (Protest Song)” could be the soundtrack to the current protests against police brutality. Ajjarapu’s words “How long must we wait for the time for justice to be done?” ring true to right now. And this song was released as a single a whole month prior to the murder of George Floyd. So yes, this song came out at the right time to be heard. Even the remaining tracks that weren’t mentioned are great. Simply put, this is a near perfect album. 

 If you’re a die hard fan of soul music, then this is an album that you need in your life

It might have taken Ajjarapu and company two years to create their debut, but all the time and effort was worth it. Hands down, this is one of the finest records of the year ; The Devonns’s mixture of classic Motown with modern soul is stunning.

Overall, The Devonn’s debut self-titled album is stupendous. It is quite hard to believe that this band is brand new, because their style is so retro that you could swear that these tracks came off of a Motown’s greatest hits album. If you’re a die hard fan of soul music, then this is an album that you need in your life. With strings that lift you into the sky and melodies that will make anyone sway, The Devonns is a debut unlike any other. Definitely check this album out before you read about it in all of those “Best Albums Of 2020” lists at the end of the year. This record, without a shadow of a doubt, came out at the right place at the right time, and once you listen to it, it’ll be stuck in your head for months. 

The Devonns is out now via Record Kicks

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