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coverpic flag US - Oregon - Full Moon 90 - 02/06/04

The Decemberists
Her Majesty The Decemberists
Jealous Butcher/Kill Rock Stars

Legend goes the Decemberists were formed in a public bath-house. And their music is as comforting as having one! What truly can be better than stepping inside a steamingly pleasant bath-house in December. I'm speaking as a Norweagian here, you know.

Portland, Oregon based band the Decemberists are new to me but I'm sure to check their path, both past and present. The music is such a pleasure I'm getting quite numb in their presence (well, actually my head is quite filled with air bubbles for the moment, but...). I get this sort of conseptual feeling when traveling through their album (which is their second, following 2001's Castaways and Cutouts on a label caled Hush - re-released by Kill Rock Stars last year). Colin Meloy (vox, guitars), Jenny Conlee (organ, piano, accordion, +), Chris Funk (guitars, etc), Rachel Blumberg (dums, vibes, glockenspiel, and more) and Jesse Emerson (bass and percussion) deliever the most pleasant melodies I've heard for a while. Comparisions have been made to Neutral Milk Hotel (that's what caught my attention), and, well, yes, the voice of Colin is sort of related to Jeff Mangum of NMH (but without that tremendous intensity we've learned to love). Decemberist play more "straight" than NMH. Without being straight, mind you. "straight" is not straight, my friend. Not to these ears. And when the windy horns and more twisted arrangements come in I'm sold. Take the opening Shanty for the Arethusa, or thetwangy closer As I Rise. Or take the heart-meltingly catchy songs like Song for Myla Goldberg, The Bachelor and the Bride and The Chimbley Sweep (it makes me recall the Violent Femmes). Then there are more toned down moments like I Was Meant for the Stage. Myrrah! The Soldiering Life is somewhat Syd Barrettish, if he only hadn't blown his mind. I could keep on rambling... Explore it yourself.

If this is Her Majesty I'm getting more and more of a royalist!

Copyright © 2004 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Decemberists articles/reviews: Picaresque, The Hazards of Love, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.

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