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DeVotchKa: Soaring And Silken, Sad And Lovely

DeVotchKa's sad and lovely sound is a surprisingly potent potpourri of cabaret, spaghetti Western, and Eastern European Gypsy songs. In "Head Honcho," Nick Urata's soaring, silken voice holds the melting pot together as a lone accordion intrudes upon his reverie, insistent and beautiful. Even as he proclaims, "It's love / It's love we're dying of," quiet desperation and suppressed pain are evident in his voice.

From Russia to South America to Mexico and back again, DeVotchKa enhances its heady sonic cocktail with instruments not usually heard on the indie-rock circuit: a melancholy accordion, earthy guitars, and the soothing but sorrowful oomph of a tuba, all playing melodies fit to score tragic romantic fantasies. The dreamy, melodramatic "Head Honcho" isn't merely "indie polka" or revamped Gypsy music, but the product of a band that's both familiar and timeless.

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This story originally ran on May 12, 2008.

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Kathryn Yu
By day, Kathryn Yu is an Interaction Designer working for a marketing firm in New York City, toiling away at Web sites. By night, she's a freelance photographer and live-music addict. Her photography has appeared in publications like Pitchfork,, Thrillist, Gothamist, and more. She often forgets to blog at, and is also making a movie.
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