Warren Defever is the type of musician like Prince that you just want to yell at. "Please, can we just focus?" or something like that would do the trick. Everything he does is creative iconoclasm dosed with touches of genius, and occasionally he hits on pure excellence. Of course, like Prince, there are frequent, inscrutable experiments along the way (field recordings in a swamp? Free-jazz reductionism?) but when Defever nails it like he does on Detrola you remember why you've been paying attention for the past 17 years. "Focus" is exactly what Detrola finds Defever forcing His Name Is Alive to do, but, ironically, the focus here is not on a particular sound. Instead, for the first time since 1998's Fort Lake, Defever is indulging the idea of what "His Name Is Alive" means as a rock & roll entity. The result is an album that smoothly and brilliantly folds in the multiple sonic disciplines Defever experiments with, making for a most cohesive incorporation of delicate indie pop, ethereal experimentation, Don Cherry-style jazzmospherics, soulful crunch and folky weirdness.
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