Southside Desire – “Songs To Love and Die To”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

I have no idea where to begin. How about we start with that voice.

And whatta voice lead singer Marvel Devitt has. Gwen McRae, Betty Wright and Dorothy Moore come to mind. Soulful and crooning backed with the most heavenly harmonies. Belting out lyrics that came out of a page from Billie Holiday’s playbook.

Devitt could cover Etta James and bring the house down and yet, she could just as easily channel Wendy O. Williams.

Devitt, along with Gloria Iacono and Joy Spika (backup vocals), Paul Puleo (guitar), Trevor Engelbrektson (bass) and Damien Tank (drums) make up Southside Desire.

Their new album, “Songs To Love and Die To” has a number of influences: Punk, soul and R&B. It feels like there are a number of elements at play and there isn’t one that’s bigger than the other, they’re just there all playing together very harmoniously. The result: Each song is damn near perfect.

The album starts with “The Will” and a killer upright bass line as its intro and it just gets better from there. Each song has a sweet cache of harmonies with stories about things not turning out the way it was hoped. The album is relatively short, with just eight tracks coming in at around three minutes each, but each song packs a musical wollop. It’s interesting to note how there’s such an old ‘feel’ to the songs; it’s hard to believe these weren’t recorded a generation or two ago.

In a nutshell, “Songs To Love and Die To” is one helluva debut album.


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