We recently checked out the Sophomore album “Sagittarius “ from New Jersey based artist Jeff DeVito ( Spoiler Alert ) It is Fantastic
Jeff DeVito was just looking to set up a home studio a few years back so he could sharpen his mixing skills. He some songs to mix so, he dusted off a few old songs and wrote some new ones . He soon found, unexpectedly, that he was pursuing a solo career. Down in the lab he concocted an aesthetic best described as new indie music for classic rock fans.
So now here we are today and Jeff DeVito gives us Sagittarius his loosely conceptual and vibrantly eclectic second album .
There’s a clear ‘hold on’/ ‘holding on’ lyrical theme in several of the songs, including a play on the name ‘Holden’, which also ties into references from The Catcher in the Rye on a few of the tracks,” Jeff says of the 11-song album. He continues: “The mood might seem dark or violent at times, but there’s an underlying hopefulness weaving its way through. Hope is a theme I lean on often in my songwriting—it seems there’s always a need for it, and it pairs well with arrangements that steadily build in volume or intensity.”
Two things stand about Jeff DeVito. First he writes great songs period no tricks or gimmicks just real solid songs .The songs that Jeff writes have a deep soul making them relatable. Jeff draws his sound from 1960’s Classic Rock , 1980 Synth pop and New Wave and 1990’s quirky Alt rock . The diverse influences of sounds are why the songs hold up so well.
The second thing that stands out about Jeff DeVito is that he has in our opinion , One of the strongest and unique rock voices we have heard in while .
He has a very distinctive tone that sounds perfect with the sonic and melodic hum of a driving rock guitar. We hear a little Beck and maybe a little Tom Petty . But at the end of the day it’s a sound that’s all his own .
We were excited to listen to Sagittarius as a whole as we very much enjoyed “Peaches and Pie and Landmines.
The opening track “Bullets On My Brain “ has a real 90’s feel to it . Explosive chorus and mellow verses . This would most definitely would have found a home on 90’s alt radio. This is a storyteller tune with an eerie scene-setting narrative that never fully resolves and an opening passage that immediately sets the chilling tone. Here, Jeff sings: It’s been raining for days / Feels like it’s always gonna rain / I went out anyway / I saw what happened at the cave / I saw what happened at the cave / I always thought I’d be brave.
The title track is an impressionistic song delivered with Hemingway-like conciseness as it bounces along to a Kinks-style guitar riff groove. One choice passage here is: I can never be a preacher / I don’t have enough to say / But as I got off on the tenth floor / I shot an arrow through the doorway.
Jeff really shines with the simple but stunning acoustic song “Song343” it’s an absolutely beautiful song . Originally the idea for “Sagittarius “ was to record a small number of sparingly produced, acoustic guitar-based tracks,similar to “Song343”
A hallmark of Jeff’s artistry is his interest in favoring strong songs over strict adherence to any genre, and the balmy bossa-nova song, “In The Rye” (ft. Fabiana Mendes), showcases his adventurous songs-first approach. “In The Rye” is the album’s most lushly produced track, including horn lines arranged by Jeff and recorded in Nashville.
We are so happy that Jeff decided to build that home studio a few years ago . He is a gifted musician and storyteller with wonderful stories and music that needs to be heard by all.