Fans of Christian popular music, or of emo music in general, are probably all well aware of faith based post-hardcore act Emery, a group that has been around almost sixteen years. Less familiar is perhaps bass player/backup vocalist Devin Shelton’s solo project, whose first effort was released while he was taking some down time from his work with Emery. On the 9th of January this year, he released the album Sensation after a successful crowd funding campaign.
According to a December press release from Jesus Freak Hideout, Shelton’s goal with this album is to “navigate his childhood love for R&B and indie music”, which is abundantly obvious when you listen to the 12 songs on the album. Apparently, some of them were written ten years ago, and have been further developed after a conversation with his Emery bandmate Matt Carter.
The precise style varies quite a bit from track to track, but by mentally adding the two genres he aims to “navigate” with the album together, you can begin to get an idea of what this is about. Heartfelt vocals, an ever-so-slight funkiness and a production somewhat less overworked than your average radio hit (don’t expect portastudio underground metal, though, this is professional stuff). A song like “buried alive” has a bit of a bite, while the title track is more subdued, yet emotional. Variation abounds, but the totality is still very much a solid, coherent piece of pop music art. The lyrical themes are also quite diverse, and the faith aspect of the music is weaved into subjects like family life, a mother’s death and other rather personal topics.
We will avoid making any review pun using the title (though it invites it), and rather say that this is a more than decent album.It is a reminder that R&B doesn’t have to be about clichéd love tunes, and that indie doesn’t have to be about ironic glasses. They still do those, right?
The album is available from David Shelton Music.