It can take years to find your voice. In the case of the Winnipeg-born, Brooklyn- based musician Devon Church, it took the dissolution of a decade-long marriage and creative collaboration (Exitmusic, a nightmare-pop project co-founded by Church's ex-wife) to send him down the road of discovering his own singular, rough-hewn-yet-elegant style. Exitmusic is known for haunting soundscapes and hair-raising emotional climaxes. With his remarkably assured Felte debut, We Are Inextricable, Church applies his experience as a producer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter to an equally absorbing solo project – one that plunges his Cohen-esque pop poetics into an ocean of drone, psychedelic minimalism, harmonic noise, and distortion-tinged, angelic ambience.
The result is a well-crafted exploration of samsara and nirvana, heaven and earth, two states seemingly coexisting in the songs themselves. It's an entrancing listen. Sensuous, surrealist lyrics touching on themes of romantic obsession, religious ambivalence, dysfunctional families, and the ineffable strangeness of human existence are delivered in a ravaged, soulful baritone, approximating some chimeric offspring of two-cigarettes-at-once Tom Waits, a tripped-out David Bowie, and John Maus. Trance-inducing, tape-saturated echoes of minimalist and ambient composers like Terry Riley, Pauline Olivera, Steve Reich and Grouper fill the spaces left by post-punkified chord structures, primitive drum machines, shakers, tambourines, and delirious, overdriven synthesizers.