Homecoming Queen, Devours’ fourth album, serves as a collected recollection for Vancouver-based musician Jeff Cancade. Through a more traditional synth-pop album, which also operates as a memoir, Cancade uses the guise and stylings of Devours to tell their most personal stories yet. In an interview last year, Cancade told Xtra, “I created this character of Devours as a ‘gaylien,’ and Planet Devours as a gay utopia where men can feel free to act feminine and be themselves.” On Homecoming Queen, Devours returns to Earth with a certain wisdom and self-awareness — things that only some time away can grant.
“I don’t know if Vancouver is boring, or I’m just getting old,” they sing on the LP’s opener “37up (The Longing).” A track about grappling with getting older and reevaluating what has come before, Devours’ vocal performance balances between matter-of-fact and sorrowful, as if they were recording a therapy session. Homecoming Queen, however, never revels in self-loathing, nor does it mourn for the past. Instead, it acknowledges it, and Devours opts to move forward.
Crunchy synths, sounding as if they came from a 16-bit game, adorn the intro of “10 Things I Crave About You,” Devours’ electronic ballad about giving a relationship your all, only to be left alone. Not hyperpop but just as energetic, Devours’ latest sound is one of emotional candour among candy-coated bops.
The crown jewel for Homecoming Queen, the track of the same name, is a bittersweet return to the place that messed you up and the people who might’ve played a part in it. “But when I came home / all the anger from my youth was gone” goes its chorus, laid gently over a bed of warbling synths and pounding kicks. Cancade is fully aware that they are still the same person, and have changed immensely over time.
This is a new version of Devours — one that’s calm, collected, and conscious of their relationships and current position. Homecoming Queen is an album about hindsight, and Devours proves that they have 20/20 vision.