Sweet melodies, pleasant harmonies, and enchanting lyrics not only make for a great EP, but also for a great Friday morning. So if you’re looking for something to ease you into your day over a cup of tea, you should give Pink Noise a listen. It’s the debut EP of Toronto-born/London-raised singer/songwriter Devan.
Thanks to her transatlantic childhood, Devan has leaned into her wildly diverse musical influences to create a voice that is uniquely hers. She has also spent the last 6 years as a songwriter and live performer with Wild Rivers, a folk-pop band that boasts over 160 million global streams. Pink Noise is a culmination of all of her hard work and it’s an honest introduction of who she is as an artist and producer. She offers an authentic reflection on the uncertainty that comes with navigating through your 20’s. Devan shares,
Pink Noise is about insecurity, but it’s also about being able to breathe out and feel a sense of relief towards my revelation that my reality is formed by my own perceptions. Writing songs for me is a way to uncover my underlying feelings about something –putting elusive emotions into tangible sentences, and coming to terms with them. My only guideline for writing these songs was to try to be as honest with myself as possible, and follow my instincts without all the self-inflicted barriers that I usually let get in the way.
Written and produced between Toronto and Los Angeles, Devan’s crew of collaborators include Adam Boukis, Quin Kiu, and Tyler Shamy. The result is a stunning 6-track compilation of songs that teeter between indie, pop, and electronic genres and a dreamy showcase of Devan’s singing and songwriting abilities.
The opening track, “Almost,” is a raw depiction of being guarded in a relationship. You can read more about this beautifully bittersweet collaboration with singer/songwriter Corey Harper here. We witness more vulernability in “Real Shot,” which could very well be the outcome of the uncertainty of the first track. The lyrics make it clear that whatever relationship there was has now ended. Touching guitar strums and mellow backbeats create a polished soundscape for Devan’s emotive vocals. She acknowledges the role insecurities may have played in holding back the relationship from its full potential. Her tone is regretful and pensive as she wonders about the “what-ifs” in this ultra-relatable song.
“Make Up Your Mind” shifts the mood of the EP with a more synth-pop production and more confident vocals. We also hear a shift in the message – the relationship is back to an in-between place, but now Devan is standing her ground and requesting that her significant other make up their mind. She’s tired of the back-and-forth, of the chase, and just wants to know if they really love her. We witness another shift in “We’re All Gonna Die Anyway.” The song takes on more of a slow jam vibe with R&B undertones. Her vocals carry the same strength as the previous track as she scrutinizes the state of the world, realizing that she’s been standing in her own way by pushing her own feelings down. She’s still tired of the back-and-forth and instead is willing to put herself out there because…well, we’re all gonna die anyway, so why not just go for it?
The reconciliation seems to have worked out in “Night Drives.” Its airy production and soothing vocals reflect the comfort experienced by Devan during this moment. You can read more about the track here. And that brings us to “Conclusions,” which was previously unreleased and, being the final track of the EP, is aptly named. A hearty piano instrumental coasts underneath layered vocals which have returned to a vulnerable and raw state. The big room production with crescendoing instrumentals and swelling vocals parallels the courage portrayed in the lyrics as Devan asks for patience and time. She realizes she needs to be more in touch with her real emotions and not the illusions she has been living, so she’s hoping they will stick around.
This truly is such an outstanding debut. Each song has been meticulously crafted to connect with a deeper emotion that resonates within the lyrics. Although all of the songs are addressed to a significant other, the songs are about more than just that relationship. They’re also about the relationship Devan has with herself. Through these songs, she addresses her own areas for improvement and ultimately realizes, in the final track, that she hasn’t been true to herself. And she realizes that until she is wholly confident in who she is, which means having to be honest with herself about her emotions, she can’t be fully invested in a relationship. Because she needs to invest in herself first.
This is the type of work that draws listeners in because it’s relatable. These are the life lessons that your 20’s will teach you. You can listen to the entire EP below!