In listening to Rocky Votolato’s mournful ruminations, it’s
hard to imagine that his music has its origins in the punk anarchy of several
earlier outfits. Yet in a sense,
Votolato is still the disenfranchised misanthrope he was early on, only
nowadays, his method of choice finds him purveying withered narratives stoked
by little more than an acoustic guitar.
Nevertheless, there’s something so achingly affecting about his
plaintive melodies, that the resilient effect is equally indelible.
Devotion provides the latest in a series of confessional
reflections, a series of songs that place an entire emphasis on his desperate
moan and solitary strum. Dimly embellished
by bare-bone arrangements and twilight desperation, Votolato meanders from
remorse to rebuke, casting himself on either side of that divide with “What
Waited For Me” and “Where We Started,” respectively. The dichotomy is often defined simply on the
basis of tempo, be it the faltering pace of “Don’t Be Angry” or the more
emphatic stance of “Sun Devil” and “Eyes Like Static.” Ultimately, those become only minor
discrepancies. In conveying his True
Devotion, Votolato shows unwavering allegiance to life’s darker designs.
Tracks: “Sparklers,” “Don’t Be Angry” LEE ZIMMERMAN