DeVotchKa had cinematic scope from the beginning, a sensibility that peaked when the band soundtracked first the film Little Miss Sunshine and then I Love You, Philip Morris. The group’s latest recording takes that aspect of its sound a step further by joining with the Colorado Symphony for a live performance. The band arranged the music itself (largely the work of Tom Hagerman), and while the group’s Eastern European roots can get lost in the orchestral sound, these recordings are largely rewarding takes on some of the group’s best material. “The Enemy Guns” remains muscular and threatening, and closer “How It Ends”, probably their most notable cut, remains as strong as ever. The problem, though, is that it’s not enhanced in this orchestral version. The DeVotchKa vision already included this sort of scope (just not the staged magnitude), so at times these performances, while good, feel unnecessary. Fans of the group should lap it up, though, even if it’s probably not essential to more casual listeners.
// Notes from the Road
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