The Devoted Few
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The Devoted Few

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The best kept secret in music


"THE DEVOTED FEW - Billboard Noises"

This is an impressive album from Sydney band The Devoted Few, led confidently by frontman Ben Fletcher. The singer/songwriter has arranged twelve tracks here dealing with the usual... love, loss, love and heartbreak but the lyrical content and sublime music bring a refreshingly poetic direction to such a tried and true genre.
Fletcher has been ably assisted on this album by Augie March's Glenn Richards and former Crow frontman Peter Fenton and has gone about writing some well thought out poignant lyrics that give off a sort of alternative pop/country edge.

Triple J hits Counting Cars and Desolation Angels kick the album off nicely and then we hear Hopetoun Lullaby, a tune guaranteed to put not only a child at ease, but even a grown adult, with its infectious Mercury Rev inspired guitars/ambient sounds. Nothing Ever Changes showcases the song writing talents of Fletcher as he delivers, "The art of time pours in your glass / The sound of it reminds you of your past and how nothing ever changes / The clocks inside your head will strike midnight every night / You stare at walls and paint with your memory."

The song Your Ghosts is eerily similar to Elliot Smith's Pitseleh from his 1998 album XO but it still is a great song using Fletcher's vocal range and perfect blend of haunting harmonies to get across the message of 'ghosts' of someone's past ruining a beautiful relationship. The songs You Are Not Your Friends and June, July, August continue to impress with the ability of The Devoted Few to construct genuine mood and texture which connects deeply with the listener on a subconscious level tapping into our inner most thoughts and feelings.

The closing track Your Face Burnt A Hole in My Memory is an inspiring Augie March-esque tune (even if it is about losing a loved one, washed away to sea and presumed dead!). This closing track is 'harmony central' with at least ten back up vocalists lending their talents including The Ladies Auxiliary, The Under Twelve Melodists and The Razor's Edge Men's Ensemble (consisting or Richards and Peter Fenton).

Billboard Noises is a very mature and intelligent album.
- Nick Argyriou - Beat Magazine - Melbourne

"The Devoted Few - Billboard Noises"

After recording and touring their first album Sleepless in 2003, the Devoted Few frontman (and former Bluebottle Kiss member) Ben Fletcher knew exactly what he wanted with the follow-up album. He wanted to make a record that was both expansive in terms of sound, but also intimate in terms of songwriting.
To do so, he knew that he needed the guidance of an outside party, and as such turned to the Sleepy Jackson producer Jonathan Burnside, with the Devoted Few recording Billboard Noises at his Razor's Edge Recording studios in Coogee, removed from the inner western Sydney base from where they come. It's resulted in exactly what Fletcher wanted: at one stage, he recorded material, went on tour with Bluebottle Kiss, and returned to find the songs altered dramatically, but brilliantly, coloured in by Burnside and his cohort Simon Wegman.

It’s apparent from the electronic-tinged opener "Misery Loves Company" that the Devoted Few who made Billboard Noises is different, but the same, as that which made Sleepless. For one, the greater level of experience the band now have as a touring unit has resulted in this album being a tighter affair, with little if any filler hidden in its twelve tracks. Instead, whether it be on the push-and-pull of singles "Counting Cars" or "Desolation Angels", or the floating melancholy of "Hopetoun Lullaby", Billboard Noises finds the Devoted Few pushing their own boundaries.

Such as it is, a song such as "It's Over" resonates with empathy for a woman in an unfortunate situation, while "Your Ghosts" – the sole track not recorded by Burnside - is similarly heartfelt and beautifully rendered. Likening the Devoted Few to a cross between Augie March and Death Cab For Cutie is not far off the mark, but in saying that they certainly have their 'own sound', rather than cribbing from their heroes. The songs themselves are superbly constructed, whether it be the whisper of tinkering keyboards provided by Burnside on "It’s Over" or the wonderful slide guitar on "Desolation Angels".

What’s most striking about Billboard Noises is the sheer quality of the songs. "You Are Not Your Friends" and the expansive closer "Your Face Burnt a Hole in My Memory" are superbly constructed, and it's so true of much of the album. Care has been taken in the songwriting, the production, and the delivery, but without the honesty of the songs, it would all be for nought. Fortunately, the fragility and beauty of the songs is given with a wide-eyed look, meaning that Billboard Noises radiates with a sense of positiveness despite the occasionally pessimistic nature of the lyrics. There's hope to be found in these songs.

Rating: 87%
- Andrew Weaver -

"The Devoted Few - Billboard Noises"

Sydney six-piece The Devoted Few have created something grand in 'Billboard Noises'. Something unbelievably developed and matured from debut album 'Sleepless'. Something melancholy but undeniably uplifting. Something that makes the heart burst with joy.

'Billboard Noises' is an album draped in poignancy. Ben Fletcher has the most perfect voice to whisper forbidden secrets through song; secrets of struggling relationships, weakened hearts, wasted days and loneliness. He sings you tales of despair but with a sense of understanding and sensitivity, his voice is gentle and endearing, a reassuring promise that everything will be ok. The music inspires this reassurance, elevating the heart with layered melodies and ambient guitars.

Opener 'Misery Loves Company' is a poignant moody piece, the simple acoustic pluckings and drum loops reminding of a childhood toy jukebox gone sad. It is an ideal opener. But do not let this song deceive your expectations of the album by its tear-jerking misery. Next song 'Counting Cars' demands more pace and room to move. It is a fitting second single after the much more poppy 'Desolation Angles'. 'Hopetoun Lullaby' is just that; a beautiful dreamy lullaby impeccably suited to Ben's sweet, sensitive voice. I get the impression that he is a romantic at heart. No doubt the song is a reference to Sydney's Hopetoun Hotel where the band has played shows in the past. I can only assume that 'Counting cars on Collins street' refers to Melbourne's busy city street (although the band are from Sydney so I could be wrong) and sampled sounds of waves crashing at the beach all give this album a distinct Australian flavour.

Although 'Nothing Every Changes' and 'Our Life is Passing us by' are close contenders to be being stand out tracks on the album, I cannot go past the closer 'Your Face Burnt a Hole in my Memory' for sending a rush of joy through my bloodstream. Beginning rather effortlessly with Ben's voice crooning over the soft strumming of guitars, it develops into the most gorgeous melody and the surge of voices singing along in unison at the end are enough to knock you over with the sheer force of their power. And if The Devoted Few are happy enough to sing 'LaLaLaLaLaLaLa' unashamedly then so am I. The childlike female voice is something that makes me want to cry.

Billboard Noises is an overwhelming musical experience. I said in my review of 'Desolation Angles' that their tunes were just 'nice'. But they have definitely proved me wrong here. It is an album swelling with emotions and descriptions which my words don't do justice to.
- Amanda L -

"The Devoted Few - Billboard Noises"

(4 stars)

Ex-Bluebottle Kiss member finds feet - Earlier this year, Ben Fletcher, the founding member of and bassist/guitarist for the Sydney indie-rock outfit Bluebottle Kiss, quit the longstanding band to pursue this solo project. And he picked the right time to change jobs - just when he'd perfected and indie-meets-FM rock sound that has none of the confronting emotional edge of BBK, instead basing his sound on vague ennui, wrapped in an ear-easy accessibility. Fletcher is a pop-music bower-bird, as he and producer Jonathan Burnside (Sleepy Jackson) offer up shades of Radiohead-style production, Buffalo Tom melodies, and solidly constructed songs. Add a few dream guests - Glenn Richards of Augie March and Peter Fenton - and you have a package that may not aspire to aggression or risk, but in doing so finds a balance.

Simon Wooldridge
- Rolling Stone - Issue 633 - December 04

"THE DEVOTED FEW - Billboard Noises"

Given The Devoted Few's debut album Sleepless (2003) demanded attention, it's no surprise that follow-up Billboard Noises is equally compelling and exquisitely beautiful. Sleepy Jackson producer Jonathan Burnside etches his wonderful and indelible mark, leaving the six-piece sounding like they were recorded at the bottom of an ocean, on an alien planet, hepped up on goofballs. Rather than clouding the delivery, Burnside's trademark peculiarity serves to illustrate the evocative and dexterous nature of Ben Fletcher's songwriting and performance.

‘Misery Loves Company’ is the perfect leading track, brimming with melancholia and dense, tearful rhythms. The blanket is then removed with the opening beats of ‘Counting Cars’; its poignant lyrics of relationship meltdown made all the more biting by their juxtaposition to a joyous, free-wheeling melody.

‘It’s Over’ and ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ serve as perfect lugubrious bookends to the deceptively toe-tapping ‘Desolation Angels’, as this LP miraculously weaves its way towards the sun-scorching closer, ‘Your Face Burnt A Hole In My Memory’.

An album which swings between doleful emotional extraction and dizzying joy, Billboard Noises stakes an undeniable claim for Ben Fletcher as one of Australia’s foremost songsmiths.
- Robert Lukins - Time Off - Brisbane

"The Devoted Few - Schematic Tracks"

These six tracks off The Devoted Few's second album 'Billboard Noises' as remixed by various friendly Australian musical artists and The Devoted Few's very own remix of Sleepless from their debut album makes for a challenging, yet rewarding EP. Let's face the truth: as good as they are at their passionate yet slightly left-of-commercial-centre music, The Devoted Few are still quirky outsiders in the Australian music scene. Their distinctly heartfelt, slightly melancholy pop-rock is preserved well in mood and sound despite the set of songs being overhauled to a distinctly non-Devoted Few genre centred mainly in electronica.

The single Sleep Less is a souped up version of its predecessor, with the band really showing a depth of maturity and confidence in what they can do. Whilst also being sonically bigger, Sleep Less manages to expand The Devoted Few's range by making Ben Fletcher's passion cool enough to dance to. This in one way distinguishes it from the rest of the tracks, as the other remixers are one step behind by staying beautifully lost in eclectic rhythms. Sarah Blasko's remix of Nothing Ever Changes juxtaposes Fletcher's heartfelt cries to a bumble-along bass line and proves quite successful. Desolation Angels by Centipede takes pleasure in the journey of exploring and finding the heart of the song, It's Over by Patriarch is very chilled, and how surprising it was to find that Paul Dempsey would choose the aptly titled Misery Loves Company to remix. Oh well, the man definitely is good at his chosen style.

'Schematic Tracks' took me a while to get into but it really is a beautiful and worthwhile release by the band. Good things often take time to appreciate, after all.
- Steven Williams - dB Magazine - Adelaide

"The Devoted Few - Schematic Tracks"

I wasn't expecting this. The Devoted Few hold my attention when they perform live, but their recorded material hasn't stuck with me until now. Schematic Tracks breaks that trend - these six remixes and one new track are dark, shimmering electronic gems. The lead single/new cut, Sleep Less, shows off Ben Fletcher's rich voice and knack for programming like never before. And, almost with exception, the remixes are inspired - Paul Dempsey's Misery Loves Company and the Centipede mix of Desolation Angels are particularly affecting. Fletcher's music and vocals have found a good home in the electronica of Schematic Tracks - one of the strongest Australian EPs this year. - Dan Stapleton - The Drum Media (Issue 769) - Sydney

"The Devoted Few - Schematic Tracks"

Sweeping, yet grooving? How do you do that? Here I was expecting Sleep Less to be a down-tempo scarf-wearing shit-cunt of an indie tune, and it turns out to be an ass-whoopin' in the guise of a rock song. Takes its cues from the synth post-punk of yore, but with a pop balance that means you're donning your scarf and having a bit of a fucking dance, baby. In high preacher voice: Oh, glory be, we have a rollicking good time on our hands!
- Jaymz - Beat Magazine (Issue 978)


2003 - Sleepless (recorded/mixed by Wayne Connelly)
2004 - Billboard Noises (recorded/mixed by Jonathan Burnside)

2003 - Invisible Birds
2004 - Desolation Angels (High rotation on Triple J radio)

2005 - Schematic Tracks (Recorded/Mixed by Tim Whitten / High rotation on Triple J radio / Streaming on our website:



2003 - Sodastream, Speedstar, 78 Saab, Augie March, Decoder Ring

2004 - Darren Hanlon, Dan Brodie, Evermore, M Ward(USA)

2005 - The Thrills (Ireland), Sarah Blasko, Cockatoo Festival, Come Together Festival, Idlewild (UK), Faker, Dappled Cities Fly

2006 - Something For Kate, Expatriate, Lou Barlow (USA), Come Together III Festival, The Great Escape Festival, The Essential festival, The Cloud Room (USA), The Fiery Furnaces (USA)


Feeling a bit camera shy


"...there's a new sound humming, you can hear it in the air... and if you listen harder, this is it..."

Sometimes people just have it. A calling, a talent, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes one lucky person gets gifted with the goods. Ben Fletcher is one of those people. Music is the only thing he knows how to do. When he first jumped on a bass guitar for Bluebottle Kiss at the age of 15, it occurred to him that he may well have found the elusive 'it'. He now fronts one of the most exciting bands in town - The Devoted Few.

The Devoted Few play the music to the soundtrack of your life. From the raucous electro energy of their recent material, the country-tinged pop of their second album: 'Billboard Noises', to the sleepy acoustic sounds of their debut: 'Sleepless', this band have covered considerable musical and emotional ground in their three short years together.

The release of 'Billboard Noises' saw the first single, 'Desolation Angels', adopted as a favourite at triple j (on high rotation) and was followed by three more high rotation radio singles 'Counting Cars', 'Anymore|Anyhow' and 'It's Over'. But that's not what you should be excited about - it's where they are now and where they're heading that really matters.

The band is evolving, moving, changing shape. In 2004 they completed their line up and discovered a handy little electronic sampler called 'The Kaoss Pad'!! Like an old Greek guy taking a bath this was an Eureka moment. It prompted a move from intoxicating acoustic pop ballads to their recent high energy live electro/guitar sound. Who knew a little Kaoss could go so far?

The band embraced this new sound and technology in 2005, by remixing and revamping the title track to their first record. 'Sleep Less' was recorded and mixed in one day and became an unexpected summer dance floor hit.

More radio love followed and the single inspired an impressive remix EP 'Schematic Tracks', with songs from the band's 'Billboard Noises' album being given treatment by artists such as Paul Dempsey (Something For Kate), Sarah Blasko and GB3 (Underground Lovers).

As a live entity The Devoted Few are an exhilirating proposition. With Skye Knight on keys, samples, back-up vocals and a mean tambourine hit, Richard Coneliano on drums, Adam 'Wesley' Gregorace on bass, and Barry Adamson and Dave Hunt providing the duel guitars and assorted blips, the energy and connection the band creates is palpable with their new songs going so far beyond anything they have done before. It's enough to make you a little dizzy. Ben Fletcher is a prolific songwriter, who continues to develop in surprising and exciting ways and a new album is now in the offing. There is no telling where this rabbit hole may lead.