The Devastations formed in Melbourne, Australia in September 2002. After just 4 gigs they joined UK band, Tindersticks, on their Australian tour, and their reputation further enhanced with support from legendary Birthday Party guitarist, Rowland S. Howard, who was moved to write an insightful and lengthy article on the band in the Australian press, as well as join them from time to time onstage.
As Howard notes in his portrait, The Devastations are followers of the ancient art of song; exploring eternal themes of sorrow, surrender, lust, abandonment and isolation. While lyrics explore excruciating, deeply graved emotions, the musical accompaniment paints a soothing monochrome landscape. Simple and direct.
Critical praise for the band?s eponymous debut album, originally released on Australian indie, Spooky Records, in mid-2003 and the follow-up 7″ single ‘Loene/Lena’ on Infidelity Records, led to further invitations for the band to tour Australia with Cat Power and play shows with Dirty Three and Black Heart Procession. At this point the band decided to venture overseas for an indefinite period.
They landed in Berlin and made their concert debut on September 11th, 2003 ? exactly one year after their first gig – as part of Alexander Hacke?s (Einst?rzende Neubauten) concert series, Bada Bing, at notorious Berlin venue, The Big Eden. Live they are a completely different proposition. What is suggested on disc is delivered ? lean and direct, physically intoxicating and vulnerable. We witness something obviously real.
Relentless touring throughout Europe since then – including an extensive tour as opening band once again for Tindersticks – yielded similar results, not to mention a European deal with Munster Records and yet another tour to promote this release in May/June 2004. Critics were quick to praise the album. Rolling Stone (Germany) proclaiming it the best debut release of 2004, while in Mojo (UK), Karen O (of the YYY’s) declared it ‘the best thing she’d heard all year’.
Throughout this time The Devastations worked on some interesting side projects. In late 2003 they collaborated again with Alexander Hacke on a score for German film, Sehn Sucht. They also provided the backing tracks for the new album, ’76/77′, by German electropunkers, Cobra Killer. And recently, whilst briefly back in Australia, they recorded with Rowland S. Howard as his backing band for an upcoming 7″ single release, ‘Autoluminescent/Ocean’.
At the time of writing the band is working on their 2nd album whilst preparing for another tour of Europe and the UK in November and December 2004.