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Walker Lukens

Devoted

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 28, 2013

Texas Platters

Walker Lukens

Devoted

Walker Lukens' debut LP oscillates between wanderlust and loneliness, reflecting his years spent traveling from Brooklyn before settling in Austin. Rhythm driven, Devoted pines behind Lukens' sweetened voice, from the sparse piano opener of "Drunk Logic" and the swooning Walkmen-esque "The Night I Was Kissed by Patti Smith" to the easy groove of "Broadway" and closer "When I Lost You, Goddamn, I Lost." Though intricately layered, the compositions between the bookends never crowd out Lukens' dipping melodies; "Dear Someone" and "Brunch People" mix melancholy with pop sensuousness. The measured percussive progression of "Casa di Davide e Chiara" nestles into the upbeat chanting of "Kindle to Your Fire (Oprah Voice)," even as the scattershot beats pushing "Lover" and the sharp guitar shards of "The Bear" pare down into less effective elemental rhythms. Lukens' fluctuating tenor and keen songwriting offer promise, needing only a backing that feels more integrated into the songs as a whole.

***

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