There are plenty of pop stars who pretend to play guitar in their videos, but every note is authentic in Devon Thompson’s debut single “Soft Like Water”. Her guitar work reminds me a bit of Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds – and she’s a first-rate songwriter, too.
Thompson’s charisma and guitar bravado have drawn comparisons to PJ Harvey, but she’s too much of a rock scholar to ever get pigeonholed. Devon notes: “My favorite guitarists would have to be Bernard Butler from Suede, Johnny Marr from The Smiths, Kristy Marlana Wallace aka Poison Ivy from The Cramps, Chet Atkins, and many more. I take inspiration from the work of these guitarists who I feel had the most unique sound.”
The new single has an angry, unforgettable chorus driven by Thompson’s fiery fret-play on a classic guitar. “It’s an American-made Epiphone Casino Elite,” she says. “If I play another hollow body, it’s gonna be a Gibson. The Casino was instrumental in the iconic sound of the 60s and 70s with bands such as the Beatles and The Animals. Its natural, warm distortion makes it the perfect guitar for my sound.”
In the song’s video, Thompson stabs a Thanksgiving turkey with a butcher knife, and she plays the chorus chords with the same intensity. “Soft Like Water” is a stunning debut – one of the best the 2020s have given us so far.