Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Listen: Mal Devisa - "Sea of Limbs"

photo by Daniel Dorsa
I'll admit it. Since discovering her at Portals and Stadiums & Shrines CMJ showcase back in October I have been waiting for Mal Devisa to release anything resembling an official version of her song "Sea of Limbs". The fact that is but one of many excellent cuts off her recently released album Kiid made choosing it over others less certain and yet, it's still managed to remain one of my absolute favorites from my emotion-flaying introduction to the Amherst based singer/songwriter last Fall.

On Kiid, Deja Carr lobs a volley of emotional extremes that seem designed to overwhelm and overstimulate but also to initiate you to her life, her experiences. Moments of blistering, righteous indignation quelled by softer, soulful offerings meant to soothe. It's a record that achieves balance essentially by not trying to. It's balance is a sum of all its parts rather than a delicate tightrope act.

"Sea of Limbs" comes sandwiched between fierier moments "FAT" and "Daisy" and that's part of its effectiveness but also because Carr's more folk-inspired turns are infused with so much heart. It begins with an intro - that pairs occasional feats of vocal acrobatics with deeply felt emotion. While the song proper is less showy, simply delivered to let the lyrics do the brunt of the work. There's a cleverness in Carr's water metaphor but its handled without any pretension. Instead the spotlight is given to the moments where Carr's message is presented completely unobscured: "Keep your eyes open, I promise you are solid gold".

While Carr hammers that lyric into you with a sort of blunt force live, in this recorded version it's power is in tied to that of the repetition of chorus. It's simply presented here but still finds a way to be soul stirring with the lack of dramatic emphasis. Less is more on Kiid and having harmonies enter and retreat once on that chorus is the only indication Carr gives that those particular lyrics are in anyway more special than the rest of them.

Mal Devisa's new album Kiid is out now. You can grab it from Mal Devisa's bandcamp here.

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