PREMIERE: 'Sagittarius' by Jeff DeVito
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PREMIERE: ‘Sagittarius’ by Jeff DeVito

New Jersey’s Jeff DeVito combs through genres and decades for Sagittarius, a poetic, lushly-produced pastiche out tomorrow.

New Jersey-based musician, Jeff DeVito fondly recalls building his in-house studio a couple of years ago. What began as a place to sharpen his production skills soon became home to his signature alt-rock sound, and — flash forward a few years — the birthplace of his latest studio album, a genre-weaving, 11-track pastiche titled Sagittarius.  

Spanning the sonic aesthetics of a range of decades — from the classic ’60s rock to the infectious synth-pop of the ’80s — Sagittarius isn’t concerned with the perceptions of any particular genre, with DeVito instead bound by a writerly lyricism that permeates each track. Nowhere is the artist’s ear for bygone era more present than on album opener, Bullets On My Brain, which sees DeVito follow the irresistible ’90s pop formula of mellow-verse-meets anthemic chorus. 

Jeff
Credit: Press

While DeVito’s conviction songwriting is felt all throughout Sagittarius — with repeated references to the classic novel, Catcher in the Rye — his storytelling makes a notable impression on the album’s title track. Atop a Kinks-style guitar riff groove, DeVito muses with the poeticism of Ernest Hemingway: “I can never be a preacher, I don’t have enough to say,” he croons, “But as I got off on the tenth floor, I shot an arrow through the doorway.

 

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Elaborating on his songwriting in a press statement, DeVito spoke of “hope [as] a theme I lean on, [since] it pairs well with arrangements that steadily build in volume or intensity.” A lesser artist might rely solely on the strength of their lyrics, but fellow Saggitarius track In The Rye goes on to burst with a lush production befitting for a multi-hyphenate musician. That song’s horn lines were produced by Jeff himself, but he elsewhere enlists a slew of collaborators. 

 

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Named in Saggitarius’ credits are drummer Graham Hopkins (who contributed to recent single Landmines), vocalist Fabiana Mendes (who duets with DeVito on In The Rye), and Nashville-based producer and keyboardist Jason Garner. Sagittarius marks the latest entry to DeVito’s discography, having released his 2020 solo debut effort, Acceleration Due To Gravity. For all its messages of hope and indie leanings, Sagittarius makes one thing clear: whatever DeVito is concocting in his DIY basement studio is working. 

Sagittarius is available for an exclusive premiere on Happy Mag above, and will be released more broadly tomorrow (November 11).