The Devlins On Unknown Sundays

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Since we have St. Patrick’s Day coming up, and we’re in the spirit of Ireland, Dublin and all areas within and in between, trying to pick some of the best rock, punk, jazz, and folk ever to grace the music multiverse, we thought we would let Unknown Sundays pluck a clover from the luck patch that is good and green across the pond.  The Devlins On Unknown Sundays seems like a most excellent, noble choice to lift a wise pint of information in honor of!

We have all seen the list of top Irish artists and bands, the likes of Thin Lizzy, Sinead O’Connor, Van Morrison, Snow Patrol, The Frames, The Cranberries, Damien Rice, My Bloody Valentine, and U2, which remains the unanimous choice for number one. We would like to take you to 1992-1993, and into the studio of Daniel Lanois, where in this case, the maestro himself brought out the musical “Devil” ins that would strike a bit of adult alternative music gold.

It was pure coincidence when looking back at this band, that their debut record, Drift, was born out of Daniel Lanois’ studio in New Orleans. Oh, the list of great records born, bread, and released out of that magical place! The Devlins, Colin and Peter, alternative rock-duo (if you will) have a crafty, unique way of delivering a mood and hook laden sound and lyric. The minute you hear it, you realize the intent, but fall in love with the underbelly of lyrics and melody, flowing like a mystic Irish river.  Perhaps this is why much of their music seems to find a way to television and film, such as “Six Feet Under,” “Closer,” as well as the background music for HBO entertainment promotions (that’s Royalty in a completely different way there).

The Drift (album) received a four star rating in Rolling Stone magazine, and with their follow up record, Waiting (in 1997), the Ireland boys were generating a bit of great buzz worthy of attention that could strike U2-like attention.  I had first discovered their debut record in 1994 while hunting through a used bin at local record store, which might have been one of the best $3.99 purchases ever.  What did an American record store know, right?  It’s true, unfortunately.  I quickly snatched up Waiting in 1997, when I saw it on the new release wall.  In the four years time between records, The Devlins had harnessed their talents again and delivered a stylish and lyrically deep record.  It was great to hear them again, and get sucked in–all over again.

The Devlins would release two other records; Consent in 2002 and Waves in 2004, which continue along that familiar river and its adult alternative nostalgic edge.  They are both very good records, and worthy of those nights when you wish to curl up with something deeper in mood and lyrics with just a hint of clever hook.  Their records listen (if you will) like short carefully told novellas around a much more impressive camp fire–complete with moody hooks and imaginative melodies that let the ear have its way with you.  Even the likes of Bruce Springsteen (wanted signed backstage copy of their album), David Grohl, and James Iha (both have gone on pub crawl with) are smitten with the talents of Peter and Colin Devlin.

Colin Devlin lives with wife (Irish actress Sonya Macari) and two kids.  He is still very active in music.  His solo record Democracy of One from 2009 is a terrific effort, as is his soundtrack for the movie The Killing Joke.  He was nominated for a Grammy for songwriting on “Love Wins Again” for Janiva Magness.  Peter Devlin has three kids and is married to TV Actress, Lorraine Keane.

There is/was an album in the works with Pierre Marchand, who worked on their second album, but it has yet to surface, which is unfortunate, considering the great song “Julian” (below) released in August of 2011.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner.  When it strolls around the corner, hopefully, if you didn’t know the band, you will remember this article and pick something from The Devlins’ catalog to enjoy a pint or two to, when you’re tired of the same-old song list.

 

SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

The Devlins Albums in my collection:  Drift (1993), Waiting (1997), Consent (2001), Waves (2005)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on March 19th  2017.  The article above has been modified to work as a current dialogue to some degree.  I hope you do explore their unique, soft rock, indie-rock delivery and structure of song-writing, as it is very good, very under-appreciated in the region it came from.  The gorgeous tone, melodies and dark-bounce is worth the rabbit hole.  The solo records, Democracy of One (2008) and High Point (2018)  for Colin Devlin do share some similarities in sound, but there is definitely a more modern progression of musical development while maintaining the poignant lyricism and themes.  I still hold out for maybe something…and I just discovered a “Live Bait and Dead Bait” EP, but haven’t listened to it yet, but I won’t keep it ‘Waiting’ much longer.  – Mark Kuligowski  [January 21, 2024]

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