The Devil Makes Three trade their folksy minimalism for full-bodied rock on Chains Are Broken | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Devil Makes Three trade their folksy minimalism for full-bodied rock on Chains Are Broken 

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click to enlarge The Devil Makes Three

The Devil Makes Three

Jay Westcott

The members of the Devil Makes Three grew up in New England but formed their trio in California in 2002. They’ve since moved their home base to Burlington, Vermont, and their crisscrossing migrations seem fitting for a group that draws on rootsy styles and sounds from across the continental U.S., including folk, bluegrass, country, blues, and ragtime, with traces of punk and rock attitude. For most of their career the Devil Makes Three have stuck to bare-bones, folky tunes played on acoustic instruments (Pete Bernhard on guitar and lead vocals, Lucia Turino on upright bass, and Cooper McBean on banjo and guitar), and their 2016 full-length, Redemption & Ruin, topped Billboard’s bluegrass chart. But for their sixth album, August’s Chains Are Broken (New West), the Devil Makes Three have gone electric, and in keeping with that bigger, louder sound, they’ve added drums on every song, courtesy of touring member Stephan Amidon. That’s not to say they’ve suddenly become arena rock—they’ve just traded some of their raw bluegrass and old-time music for folk- and country-rock jams and twangy Americana ballads. Though not every song is a win (the verses on “Native Son” sound too much like Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros’ annoying “Home”), the barroom boogie “Need to Lose” and the slow burner “All Is Quiet” make the change in the band’s style feel like a natural progression. Longtime fans may be worried by the new album’s comparatively sleek vibe, but I doubt it’ll affect the band’s onstage energy.   v

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