Premiere: Oh Devil Wow With Lyrical Brilliance & Musical Force On Debut EP, Applause

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For many, music is a quest for catharsis. With each new track, there’s the opportunity to experience those exhilarating moments: the goosebumps that rise on your forearms, the intoxicating rush of a crafty electric riff, or the spine-tingling sensation that you get when a fiery bridge leads into a triumphant chorus. Lyrics offer a similar rush, with verses sticking in our minds like timeless proverbs, ones that resonate universally with poised insight. When these musical and lyrical realms intertwine, such as in a pivotal phrase during a key change or a raw, guttural outcry framing a tense breakdown, the catharsis transcends mere euphoria. It evolves into an indescribable form of bliss, fleeting yet profound, reaching beyond conventional boundaries. That sensation, that high… that’s what makes music listening so enduring. Even after we’ve discovered, experienced, and deciphered a new song, there’s always the anticipation of re-listens, promising deeper thrills, joy, and solace.

It’s precisely this blend of emotion and skill that defines the music of emerging Richmond band Oh Devil. On their debut EP Applause, set for release on Friday, May 17th, the grunge-punk power trio exhibits not just exceptional talent, but sublime resonance. From the opening moments of the record, their piercing sound is felt, intensifying further as the EP unfolds with dynamic drive. A revelation to the earbuds, the three towering compositions on this record showcase a band already operating at an exceptionally high level early on in their career, a feat that both underscores their current prowess and shrouds the bright promise ahead with its formidable presence. Today, The Auricular is honored to premiere this new EP with an exclusive stream below, paired with an analysis on the music’s vibrant impact.


Consisting of Becka Russell (vocals, guitar), Brittany Horkan (drums), and Alex Harris (bass), Oh Devil’s sound embodies what Richmond has long cherished: a gritty rock essence ignited by charismatic performances adaptable to both intimate, dimly lit venues and expansive stages. Their music is less about innovation and more about refinement, blending familiarity with originality in its clever conception and distinctive execution. The opening track, “Monday Afternoon,” sets the tone, juxtaposing twinkling guitar notes with deep, cavernous groans, evoking a sense of longing and introspection from the outset. As the tempo intensifies, the band’s power becomes palpable, with drumming that subtly propels a mix of electric strings, generating a pulsating rhythm that propels the momentum of the record forward with unwavering force. “Happy Passenger” and “Supercollider” propel the sound further, escalating the rowdy sonic adventure that becomes increasingly frenetic, captivating, and charming with each strike of the drumsticks and strum of the guitar pick. It’s a resolute mix that Oh Devil concoct with astonishing artistry, navigating through melodic chaos with precision to ensure they never lose their way, even as they escalate the frenzy.

Helping to light the way through the mania is the remarkable lyricism contained within the EP, presenting unique narratives that stand boldly on their own with sweeping prose and keen insight. In “Monday Afternoon,” Russell observes aimless distraction as a subdued shade, writhing and convulsing in the absence of color (“They’re nothing new\ In the grayscale”). “Happy Passenger” plunges the listener into the midst of a toxic relationship, distinct yet ambiguous enough to question its tangibility, the recipient perhaps a virulent trait that defies correction (“‘Cause kissing Chaos\ Tastes like death and strawberry”). “Supercollider” opens with a captivating ode (“So long archipelago\ A dynasty is dying again”) before delving into connection amidst dire circumstances (“But when the moon is melting high in the sky\ I’ll be your supercollider”), romanticizing shared trauma and encouraging sincere intimacy no matter the obstacles around.

So captivating is the lyricism here that Applause almost functions as a concise anthology of poetry, just as engaging to read as it is to hear. Russell’s turn of phrase is hauntingly affecting, rendering the abstract into something familiar, like words we’ve yet to assign to the dread and anguish lurking behind us. Some lines are best suited as clever earworms that play on passionate drive with simple phonetics (“How I came of age\ In a neon rage”), while others are more piercing observations that linger with obsession due to their elastic prudence (“The physics of existence\ Ever-meta, ever-questioning\ Well, who am I to question anything?”). While the lyrics are particularly noteworthy, it’s not as though they never eclipse the actual music underneath. Instead, both fuel each other’s might, with the lyrical austerity sharpening the sonic fury and the musical tenacity amplifying each observation and condemnation. While the lyrics would excel on their own merits, it’s the music underneath that really propels it into the ether, that magical place where the catharsis we’ve chased for so long is just in reach.

Applause arrives just shy of three months after the band’s debut single, “In Metamorphosis,” hit the airwaves—an equally riveting, rough-and-tumble rock piece that seamlessly blends raw introspection with gritty musicality. Together, these tracks firmly establish Oh Devil as one of Richmond’s premier new acts, a band worth keeping tabs on as they continue to craft even more invigorating and penetrating music in the future. Fortunately, the band can afford to take their time with their next release, because the dense, cathartic energy of Applause is sure to sustain us for quite some time. And for that, they truly deserve a round of applause.

Applause is out everywhere on Friday, May 17th and the following day, you can catch the band live for their EP Release show at Bandito’s alongside Alexa Jenson and Reverse Yr Curse (more information on the show flyer directly below). To keep up to date on future shows and releases, make sure to follow Oh Devil on Instagram (click here).


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