Blurring the boundaries between ’90s alt-rock, ’70s rhythmic crunch, and the savvy songwriting of Big Star and Elliott Smith, Devil Love makes its brand of hook-heavy pop/rock. It’s a modern sound that nods to the best parts of the past, fusing the melodies of frontman Peter Buzzelle — a longtime member of Boston’s songwriting community — with the thick guitars and stomping percussion of a full-throttle indie-rock band.
“Be grateful for what you have; it won’t last,” Buzzelle warns during “Everywhere Leads the Sound,” the opening track from Devil Love’s full-length debut, Broken Things, which is due out February 12th. Like the album itself, it’s a song about chasing down a better existence, regardless of the rubble that stands in the way. For Buzzelle, that same kind of perseverance has played a consistent role throughout a career that began in the Pacific Northwest, where he attended college with members of Sleater-Kinney and played drums for The Posies’ opening act. This was the last decade of the 20th century — the golden era of alternative music — and Buzzelle had a front-row seat to history in the making, often sharing shows with the genre’s bigger acts. Although he’d later return to his native Massachusetts and kickstart his songwriting career, something about those years in Oregon never left him.
Buzzelle began making a name for himself in Boston’s diverse music scene, rolling the full range of his influences — including the amplified hooks of Matthew Sweet, the heady pop of The Shins, and the bedroom symphonies of Elliott Smith— into four solo albums that blended indie-rock punch with bright melodies. Along the way, he began collaborating with some of the area’s most celebrated instrumentalists, gradually laying the foundation for the band that would take the place of his celebrated solo career.
Drummer Chuck Ferreira was the first member to join Buzzelle in Devil Love’s lineup, bringing a love of Led Zeppelin and other bottom-heavy rock acts to the table. Lead guitarist Ken Rothman was next, complementing Buzzelle’s guitar playing with his Stones-inspired approach. Bass player Jason Raffi finalized the rhythm section, while Josh Cohen — a veteran keyboardist who’d toured with Guster and ran sound for John Fogerty — completed the quintet. Led by Buzzelle’s songwriting, the group began recording Broken Things at various studios across Boston, working with studio pros like Benny Grotto (Ben Folds, Dresden Dolls), Matthew Ellard (Elliot Smith, Wilco), and Matthew Girard (Parks, The House Jacks) along the way.
Buzzelle believes whole-heartedly in Broken Things‘ seize-the-day message. For nearly two decades, he’s been sharpening his skills as a songwriter, steadily working his way toward the formation of his ideal rock band. Devil Love represents a dream fully realized. And while the band’s name nods to the human condition’s unique balance of good and evil — the push-and-pull of our shared human existence — there’s nothing but love here.
Today Glide is premiering the music video for “We Can Leave Tonight,” an anthem for the desperate and driven, with Buzzelle rallying himself for a late-night escape from a dead-end town. Dreamy guitar harmonics accentuate the emotionally-charged vocals to make for a poppy alt-rock tune that would feel at home on 90s rock radio. Peter Buzzelle sings with a passionate conviction and simultaneously vulnerability that contrasts with the heavier rock moments of the song, and the band demonstrates their tightness as they jive together and lay into fiery Rickenbacker guitar solos. The end result is a song that is a heartfelt and infectious anthem.
Buzzelle describes the inspiration behind the song and its video:
“A song about the hope of two people moving on from dark depths to a better life of light and love”
“The video features two young brides who serendipitously made plans to elope and hold their ceremony at the same location, date, and time as our video shoot. As we began shoot, and the band and crew began chatting with them and their friends, it became clear that they needed to be in the video, and a concept quickly materialized providing a special moment for everyone involved. We couldn’t have scripted it any better!”
Drummer Chuck Ferreira adds his own take on the where this song fits into the band’s musical canon:
“We Can Leave Tonight is the transitional song for Devil Love, featuring a shift form Peter’s solo work, to a more band-centric approach to writing and arranging. It’s no surprise that it quickly became one of our favorite tracks from “Broken Things”, and so it deserved a video with high production values and a beautiful location. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome given the current circumstances that all bands are facing right now.”
Photo credit: Joshua Pickering Photography