Most bands would stagger the release of two planned studio albums to accommodate touring schedules and such, but not Kevin Devine, who's decided to hit us with 22 new tracks all at once. One of these albums enlists the help of his usual backing band, the Goddamn Band, as well as Jesse Lacey from Brand New (he had to find something to do with his band essentially in stasis, I guess). The other is a solo record. They both have one thing in common, though: Devine is pissed off, and has plenty of things to get off his chest - or as the lacerating 'Fiscal Cliff' would have it, "If you're angry, well, I'm angry too." Whereas he used to favour introspection in his earlier work, he's turned his focus outward, resulting in his most consistently impressive albums to date.

Bubblegum opens on a surprisingly aggressive note; Devine comes out swinging on the opening pair of 'Nobel Prize' and 'Private First Class', his politically astute lyrics welded to swaggering power-pop that does a lot to suggest that he's riding a wave of confidence after raising almost $115k through the Kickstarter campaign that funded these albums, but he's doing a lot more than just releasing one up-tempo record and one downbeat one, managing to skilfully blur the lines between different moods, creating perhaps the most complete picture of his music that he's presented in a 12-year career.

Punishing heaviness and mid-tempo melancholy collide on the slow-burning 6-minuter 'Red Bird', a structurally ambitious track that finds him and his band sounding like they all know each other inside out. It's the exception across these two albums, and not the rule, and works all the better for it. The instrumental 'Capybara', meanwhile, serves as a well-placed palate cleanser after Devine serves up the bass-driven songwriter's lament that is 'Sick of Words' ("I'm blessed with a curse, that's what I say / No-one asked, but I've been offering for years anyway"), taking shots at himself while being fully aware of the irony - it's one of the highlights of the entire package.

It's not the only time he resorts to self-excoriation, either. 'Now: Navigate!' gets things off to a flyer on Bulldozer, an album which actually isn't acoustic at all - it's certainly more inward-looking, though. To start with, Devine takes a sideways look at his career as only he can - "I'm either successful, independent and largely uncompromised / Or a non-starter never-was has-been since 2008 / And it's nobody's fault / And there's no-one to blame" - while there's an almost country-ish feel to 'Couldn't Be Happier', thanks to the slide guitar, though its forlorn feel and lovelorn lyrics are a good fit for the genre, too. Frequent Mark Lanegan collaborator (and ex-Belle and Sebastian member) Isobel Campbell contributes backing vocals (as she does on several other Bulldozer cuts), and she turns in a particularly impressive performance.

The definitive version of 'Matter of Time' from last year's live EP slows things to a waltz, with Devine delivering one of the best sets of lyrics on either record, delivering the sort of emotional gut-punch that we've come to expect from him, before a more stripped-back version of 'She Can See Me' offers one final burst of energy; it sounds positively restrained in comparison to the reckless abandon that drives its Bubblegum rendition - yes, he liked it enough to record two different versions, apparently. After that, the album winds down in a manner that verges on flat-out depressive; 'Safe' brings things to a close with frank and revealing lyrics, capping the album off with what passes for a grandiose flourish in Devine's world. These albums end as strongly as they began, and manage to avoid including forgettable filler, showing instead that their creator has hit a new career high. "Non-starter never-was has-been"? Not for much longer.