The Devlins

Epic but poppy

While U2 without the hubris sounds like not only a bad idea, but a self-canceling one, The Devlins -- preceding bands like Travis and Coldplay -- have been exploring that gas planet for nearly a decade. And as it turns out, there's life there after all, particularly in love songs whose Homeric production values somehow fail to lower their worth as catchy pop tunes. On their new album, Waves, the Dublin-based brother act of Colin and Peter Devlin add some jewels to their repertoire with "Don't Let It Break Your Heart " and "Careless Love," both crisp, compassionate and -- attesting to their roots in another era -- lovely melodies for their very own sake. It's when The Devlins take stabs at gravitas, in the life-affirming platitudes of "Lazarus," that you wish they'd leave the Big Themes up to those with the charisma to pull it off while hawking iPods.

 
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