Devon Church is a singer-songwriter hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba and based in New York City. He was, for many years, a multi-instrumentalist, co-writer and producer of the dreampop duo Exitmusic. In 2018, Church released his solo debut, We Are Inextricable, which employed the textural electronic elements he had harnessed during the Exitmusic years in the service of a songwriting style rooted in the folk rock tradition, with deep nods to Cohen and Dylan. Having gigged throughout the US in 2019, Church set to work recording his latest offering, Strange Strangers, while seeking refuge from the global pandemic in a barn in rural Pennsylvania. After his apartment in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint burned down, Church and his partner (now wife) Ada Roth relocated to Manhattan’s northern tip, where he would spend days wandering the woods and gardens surrounding The Met Cloisters.
His time there, his deepening relationship, and his growing interest in Buddhism provided the album’s moodboard. The opening track, 'Slouching Toward Bethlehem', is an ironic complaint sung by an itinerant Adam & Eve to their absent father, a kind of gnostic protest ballad in waltz time. While Church was certainly raised in a Christian home, he explains that his use of biblical imagery is often a foil for other cosmic messages – gleaned from psychedelics, love affairs, Buddhism and Kafka – and an homage to the tradition of classic songwriters. Meanwhile, 'Flash Of Lightning In A Clear Blue Sky' trades in some classic Buddhist metaphors while simultaneously seeming like it is being sung to a lover. The lyrics perform dual-duties throughout. They could be interpreted as songs of either spiritual or romantic longing – and homecoming – or both simultaneously.
The largely self-produced album sounds as if Apollo-era Eno had wrested the controls (and the handgun) from Phil Spector halfway through the recording of Death Of A Ladies Man. The atmospheric elements of Church’s past productions are sublimated throughout the album, put into the service of tape-saturated vocals, combo organs and guitars. Angelic backing vocals by Roth lend an aura of dreamlike lightness in contrast to the baritone of the album's world weary narrator.
- Slouching Toward Bethlehem
- This Is Paradise (But Not For Us)
- Bored Of The Apocalypse
- All Is Holy (A432)
- Flash Of Lightning In A Clear Blue Sky
- Winter's Come
- Since I Fell
- Deer Park