Never heard of The Amazing Devil? Today is your lucky day! They’re a London-based folk-band, helmed by Joey Batey and Madeleine Hyland. Now, if Joey Batey sounds like a familiar name to you, you might have seen him as Pierre in Knightfall, or more recently as Jaskier in Netflix’s The Witcher. On top of this, Hyland has a long background in the Jazz scene of Soho, as well as work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The Horror and the Wild is the second album from The Amazing Devil, and what an absolute wonder of a follow up it is to their 2016 debut Love Run. Batey’s ability to go from a soft croon to almost a growl and Hyland’s incredible range go so perfectly together that they practically create magic as they sing. Combine this with fantastic storytelling brought into every single song, the album draws you in whether you want it or not.
All of the songs on the album are about some sort of relationship — sometimes loving and supporting, and sometimes tinged with something darker. Fair and Marbles will warm you up from the insides with their warm depictions of loving someone in spite of yourself, and despite it all. “Fair” gave me goosebumps on my first listen, the vulnerability in Batey’s voice is just that striking. “Wild Blue Yonder” and “Battle Cries” both share a more pop-y beat, and Hyland and Batey telling two sides of the same story. This makes for a very interesting listening experience, and will entice you to listen again and again because you will discover something new every time.
“The Rockrose and the Thistle” is the first track on The Horror and the Wild, and it might be one of my favorites. It’s an a cappella-ish slow melody that starts with Batey’s vocals over the sounds of the wind and a low base. Hyland joins Batey partway into the song and it adds another dimension to the feeling of sadness and desperation that permeates the song. Another song that touches on sadness and desperation is “Welly Boots”, one of the most touching songs on the record, written from the perspective of a parental figure who passes away relatively early in a child’s life.
Titular track “The Horror and the Wild” and “That Unwanted Animal” are powerful songs with driving drums and dramatic harmonies. They also share something of a more mythical vibe to them, leaning towards telling more of a fairy tale than most of the other tracks. “Farewell Wanderlust” starts relatively slow, and then works itself into a beautiful crescendo by the end of the song. A fair few of The Amazing Devil’s songs start this way, and I feel like this very much support the storytelling aspect of their songs, everything has a start, a middle, and an end.
There is a ton of wordplay and overlapping words in the songs, and this is also something that invites you to listen to the songs again and again. Batey is credited with writing and composing the songs on the album, with additional material by Hyland. To me, Batey’s style of writing is refreshing and fun, despite sometimes touching on subjects that may be hard to face for some.
The Horror and the Wild is a masterpiece from start to finish. Listening to this album will take you on a journey through tracks that will give you chills one minute, and have tears streaming down your cheeks the next. I have only known about The Amazing Devil since mid January, but I already know that both The Horror and the Wild and Love Run will be some of my most played albums this year. For now, you can buy the album on Bandcamp, where all profits will go to making the next album, and it will be up on Spotify and Apple music in a few weeks.