Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 | Los Angeles, California

By Chris Epting

Davenport-Cabinet

For many music fans in the world, Travis Stever is the lead guitar player in the dynamic, proggy-hard rock concept band Coheed and Cambria. Working alongside C&C visionary Claudio Sanchez, Stever’s twisting, muscular, soaring solos are a huge part of the band’s sonic sculpture.

As defining as Stever’s playing has become within his full-time band, it’s his solo project, Devonport Cabinet, where perhaps the real Stever resides.

Or make that, “Stevers,” because at first listen to the brand-new album “Damned Renegades,” his many musical personalities shift and collide with such wonderful randomness that it’s almost hard to believe that most of the music is being directed by the same person.DavenportCabinet

Much like a beam of light being broken down into a spectrum after passing through a prism, Davenport seems like the perfect angled cut of glass to separate Stever’s many musical moods.

The Davenport Cabinet concept began in 2007 as more of a personal venture but has since evolved into a full band (also featuring Tyler Klose on vocals/guitar, Tom Farkas on bass and Michael Hickey on drums) and the results are a wildly eclectic rush of everything from sweetly lush and melodic to classic rock crunch.

With many flavors and textures in between.

The lead single track, “Everyone Surrounding” is a taut yet soaring excursion that at once feels familiar, luring the listener in with a seductive, teasing riff that promises big things right around the corner. Then the first chorus kicks in and you are at once thankful that somebody’s making music like this.

There is an honesty and earnestness to much of the album that is refreshing. Stevers and company are clearly working hard to do nothing more than craft interesting, memorable, imaginative songs that weave together a diverse and unscripted mélange of styles.

And they succeed with sparkling results.

Stevers will talk about his many influences from early 70s rock and balladry through post-punk metal, hard-core and other fairly established genres. But rare is the artist that can tap into this diverse a palette of influences to produce something fresh and original.

Just be prepared for lots of gear changes in wild mood swings. One minute it’s the dreamy but urgent mid-tempo “In Orbit.”

Or the breezy and efficient “Sorry For Me.”

Or the metallic, mysterious “Graves of the Great War.”

Or the open road rocker “Glass Balloon” (where a bit of Coheed and Cambria seems to linger in the shadows).

There’s the aching and world-weary “Missing Pieces.”

The exuberant “Students of Disaster.”

And lots more.

Without an official band template to create any structure around him, Stever’ decides to let it all hang out on “Damn Renegades” and the results are startlingly wondrous. His instincts run free and wild across a rich and diverse musical landscape and the results are one of the strongest albums of 2014.

Be warned though. This is an addicting album with a very strong sense of gravity. And after just one or two listens don’t be surprised if you could seriously sucked in.

And repeat.

 

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Davenport Cabinet’s Damned Renegades a Remarkable
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