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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Miniview: Dave Hause - Devour

Album Rating: B+
The origin story of Apostle Paul in the Bible is both inspiring and terrifying: only after he was blinded by God on the way to Damascus did he come to see the light. Gritty gospel-rock musician Dave Hause's Devour, both a reflection on Hause's life and a searing sermon on American society, centers itself on that truth. Opener "Damascus" (note the title) carries itself on scratchy guitar textures and clicking hi-hats while Hause delivers poetic hints of an impending apocalypse, stockpiling "bullets and Vitamin C" while scales grow over his eyes. A bleak start, but the track builds to a raging crescendo, an assertion of agency if not a victory rally. From there, Hause wastes no time driving a stake into the heart of the American Dream, tearing apart our whitewashed history on "The Great Depression" and exploring the seeming hopelessness of modern times on "We Could Be Kings," both crowdpleasers that'll no doubt compel disillusioned dreamers to sing along. The best preachers, however, are storytellers, and Hause is wise to color his observations with compelling character portraits--a young worker deployed on "We Could Be Kings," two lovers caught in a cycle of addiction and destruction on "Same Disease," a man stuck between his upbringing and his future on "Father's Son," each sketched in with an eye unforgiving but sympathetic regardless. Devour may not pull any punches, but it refuses to give in to cynicism, either: its hope is difficult, well-deserved, and never saccharine. Nowhere is this attitude better reflected than on "Benediction," where Hause runs down a list of questions prodding at the soul of the modern American before reaching a simple conclusion: "It's love, my friend, in the end."

You can stream the album here.

Track Listing
1. Damascus
2. The Great Depression
3. We Could Be Kings
4. Autism Vaccine Blues
5. Same Disease
6. Before
7. Father's Son
8. Stockholm Syndrome
9. Becoming Secular
10. The Shine
11. Bricks
12. Benediction

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