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The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl (16th March 2018)

The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl (16th March 2018)

         The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl (16th March 2018)The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl (16th March 2018)♠■♠         Od chvíle, kdy se objevili na národní hudební scéně v roce 2002, diskografie The Decemberists se houpala sem a tam jako kyvadlo mezi jádrem dovednosti kapely (inteligentní, libozvučné písně) a jeho dalekosáhlejších rozsahů zájmů. Jakoby nepsaný zákon umožnil každému albu stanovit vlastní úroveň způsobilosti. Toto je jejich osmé studiové celovečerní čekání na divočáka. Jednoho už má na mušce: Donalda Trampa. Připomenu málo minimálně frekventovanou informaci: obal alba, ručně psaný název a koncept ilustrací navrhla portlandská umělkyně Carson Ellis, dlouholetá přítelkyně (a nyní manželka) Meloye, která vytvořila umělecké dílo pro každé album skupiny. Alba jako ‚Castaways and Cutouts’ v roce 2002 + ‚The King is Dead’ (2011) z jednoho pohledu — jsou naplněné krásnými akustickými kytarami, výrazným kombem melodií, slovem a tóny Colina Meloye, rodáka z Montany. Z druhého pohledu vidíme ‚The Tain EP’ (2004, 18~ti minutový epický příběh z labyrintu The Tain, Pts. 1~ 5), ‚The Hazards of Love’ (2009, nahraná v září 2008 ve studiu Flora, Portland, OR) a nyní toto nejnovější album ‚I’ll Be Your Girl’, doplňující zvuky Decemberistů svými srdečnými, synteticky barevnými vibracemi. Jejich hudba opravdovým znalcům připomene tvorbu Fairport Convention a Pentangle, může nést i prvky Waterboys a R.E.M. Na tom aktuálním je v závěru vinylového alba píseň, o které se zmiňuji exkluzivně: “Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes” je živou připomínkou jedinečné věci, kterou The Decemberists dělají lépe než nějaká jiná skupina, ovšem zbytek alba nedosáhne stejného levelu. Píseň ‚We All Die Young’ napsali společně Birch Query, Finn Query, Louise Moen, Scout Funk, Mina Greenberg Motamedi, Eleanor Laurie, Satchel Laurie, Max Markewitz a Sabrina Montgomery. Přesto album je také důkazem, že Meloy a jeho kamarádi jsou ochotní a schopní průzkumníci, kteří se obávají stagnace víc, než risku. To jsou pro kapelu skvělé vlastnosti. Chris Funk, ten si bude po celý den hrát s pedály i na tomto albu. Vysoce gramotné historické eposy budou na svém pevném piedestálu i v dobách, když se kyvadlo otočí zpět. The Decemberists se na tomto albu vyvinuli do skvělé pop rockové kapely, aniž by se vzdali své hloubky nebo posedlosti. Album se také dobře umístilo nejméně v osmi zemích světa, nejvýše ve Scottish Albums (OCC) #5, UK Albums (OCC) #8, a v US Billboard 200 #9. Od kapely, která se dostala na úroveň těch stylotvorných, je to vzrušující a příjemný počin. Lyrický obsah alba byl částečně ovlivněn prezidentskými volbami v USA v roce 2016 a jeho okamžitými následky. Vokalista a kytarista Colin Meloy poznamenal: “[I’ll Be Your Girl] oslavuje absurditu našich současných problémů. Myslím, že je to skutečně odraz mého výhledu okamžitě po volbách v roce 2016, kdy byl tento nástup zoufalství okamžitý a bezprostřední. Skutečné zoufalství, opravdová deprese a posléze nějaké vylézání z ní. Vidět jiné lidi, kteří vnímají věci stejným způsobem, podobně vycházet z jejich díry a být autentickými svědky událostí, jak přicházely. Spíše než se slzami je na něm téměř ironický humor, ale s hněvem a takovou sortou nálad, které jdou skloubit dohromady. Bylo to o nalezení rovnováhy mezi skutečným vztekem a humorem — objevování divoké absurdity v něm.”  Zatímco texty Meloyho jsou ostře zdokonalené a povzbuzující, čili mají tendenci vyvolávat zvlášť emocionální reakci, navíc je zde kavalkáda, či snad doslova celá procesí zvuků, které nejen že udělají, že ‘budou vaší dívkou’ z alba, ale zcela jistě navíc pozoruhodným a výjimečným dílem Decemberistů. Závěrem nutno poznamenat že multihráčka na glockenspiel, Prophet, Mellotron, Moog Little Phatty, Hammond B3 Organ, Nord Stage Keyboard a garmošku, 46letá Jenny Conlee (Black Prairie, Sparklepony), je již v remisi, vyléčená a na tomto albu v plné síle. Úžasný.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Genre: prog~folk~rock
Album release: 16th March 2018
Record Label: Capitol (US) / Rough Trade Records (UK)
Duration:      43:13
Tracks:
01 Once In My Life     5:09
02 Cutting Stone     3:21
03 Severed     4:04
04 Starwatcher     2:39
05 Tripping Along     3:36
06 Your Ghost     2:41
07 Everything Is Awful     3:23
08 Sucker’s Prayer     3:29
09 We All Die Young     4:01
10 Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes     8:16
11 I’ll Be Your Girl     2:34
℗ 2018 Capitol Records, LLC
Exclusive details: Limited Edition 180g White Vinyl edition. Standard LP also on 180g Vinyl.
Charts:
»»        Australian Albums (ARIA)     #86
»»        Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)    #24
»»        Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)     #133
»»        Canadian Albums (Billboard)     #34
»»        German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)     #55
»»        Scottish Albums (OCC)     #5
»»        UK Albums (OCC)     #8
»»        US Billboard 200     #9
♠■♠         The Decemberists  explore a new sound with a new producer on their inspired eighth studio album   I’ll Be Your Girl. The acclaimed Portland, Oregon~based band worked with producer John Congleton  and embraced influences such as Roxy Music and New Order to spark a new creative path.
Description:
•→√•→        It’s yet another exceptional album from the Portland group, and the press are as enamoured with it as we are:
•→√•→        MOJO — “An ace and absorbing album” — 4/5
•→√•→        Q Magazine — 4/5
•→√•→        Drowned In Sound — “A strong and thoroughly enjoyable record full of bold ideas, bright colours and charm.” — 8/10
•→√•→        Paste — “The album of their lives”
•→√•→        NPR — “‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ captures a collaborative spirit that keeps the band sounding vibrant and alive.”
•→√•→        The Decemberists were never ones to kick their heels or rest on their laurels, having released eight continually brilliant albums in seventeen years, launched a boardgame, created annual two day US music festival Travelers’ Rest and seen their frontman and Cavalry Captain, Colin Meloy, pen a children’s book and record an EP of covers by Shirley Collins, Sam Cooke and Morrissey. It therefore comes as no surprise that for ‘I'll Be Your Girl’ the five~piece chose to shake things up, broaden their sound and embrace their love of glam, Roxy Music and New Order by enlisting producer John Congleton (known for his work on St. Vincent, Lana del Ray, Blondie and more). As Colin explains, “When you’ve been a band for seventeen years, inevitably there are habits you fall into. So our ambition this time was really just to get out of our comfort zone. That’s what prompted working with a different producer and using a different studio. We wanted to free ourselves from old patterns and give ourselves permission to try something different.”
Rough Trade: http://roughtraderecords.com/
Review
by Evan Rytlewski | MARCH 19 2018 | Score: 6.1
•→√•→        Buoyed by a fresh coat of synths and a streamlined energy, the Decemberists’ latest is a curious middle~of~the~road album, teasing a number of directions without committing to any of them.
•→√•→        Late on I’ll Be Your Girl, there’s “Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes,” a narrative suite based on an old Slavic parable about a mermaid who seduces men only to trick them into drowning. Over eight minutes brimming with dramatic tension and florid prose, Colin Meloy profiles two victims, one a willing sacrifice aroused by his fate, the other naïve and unsuspecting. “Your brow tressed in flowers, pale in a liminal moon,” he sings, setting up each death with the patience of a master storyteller, relishing the suspense until the track finally erupts into fits of grandiose, polyphonic folk.
•→√•→        The Decemberists used to live for these sorts of epic, carefully scripted flights of historical fantasy. A decade ago the band might have even dedicated an entire album to this murderous mermaid — you can almost hear the Baltic instrumentation and picture the lithographed cover art — but here the song is just a pit stop on an album that otherwise avoids the excesses of yore. Since hitting peak fancifulness on 2009’s The Hazards of Love, the Decemberists have streamlined their music into something more direct and less fussy. Rather than carry on like the world’s most overqualified LARP convention house band, they’ve adopted a nomadic approach, running with whatever muse that presents itself at the moment. It’s a bittersweet tradeoff: They had to evolve to keep things fresh, even though whatever they do next is unlikely to be quite as memorable as what came before.
•→√•→        Even more so than the two albums that preceded it, I’ll Be Your Girl is a grab bag, teasing a number of directions without committing to any of them. As part of their drive to shake things up, the band subbed out longtime producer Tucker Martine for John Congleton, an indie ringer and chameleon who feeds on sonic extremes. It’s not the most natural fit — his best projects, like his bristly collaborations with Xiu Xiu, St. Vincent, and Swans or his own unnerving albums with Paper Chase, have more of an edge to them than anything in the Decemberists’ catalogue — but pairing him with a fellow music obsessive like Meloy presents some intriguing possibilities. If any combo can conjure an aesthetic that’s novel and specific, it should be this one.
•→√•→        The record presents its boldest idea upfront, with a run of opening tracks that tease a potentially radical synth-rock reinvention for the group. Meloy has cited New Order and Depeche Mode as influences, but the vast, rolling synthesizers on “Once in My Life” are closer in spirit to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” or Pretty in Pink~era Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, reference points that aren’t nearly as glamorous on paper but are far more interesting in execution. For a while, there’s an almost subversive thrill in hearing those gaudy, artificial synthesizers bleed through the group’s once folky, acoustic sound. Within a few songs, though, the shock of the new wears off, and the band begins to default to familiar influences. Three consecutive songs give off strong whiffs of R.E.M.: “Severed” (it’s got a moody, “Driver 8” sort of vibe), “Starwatcher” (very Document), and “Tripping Along” (the album’s Automatic for the People moment).
•→√•→        I’ll Be Your Girl is intermittently political in its own way, even though beyond the special thanks to Special Counsel Robert Mueller tucked into the liner notes, it only addresses politics in the broadest sense. Instead, Meloy captures the general frustration that the world is just kind of shitty right now. “For once in my life…could just something go right?” he sings, invoking the first of the album’s many Charlie Brown~isms. He takes that same chipper nihilism to silly extremes on the record’s most confounding inclusions: a pair of “fuck everything” anthems inexplicably executed like kids songs. The sickly sweet “Everything is Awful” is basically a novelty romp — Meloy’s answer, perhaps, to that manic theme from The Lego Movie — while “We All Die Young” sets a dopey Jock Jams beat to a Kidz Bop cheer~along.
•→√•→        Taken on their own, those songs aren’t too much of a stretch. Plenty of Decemberists fans have aged into parenthood, and it’s really not hard to imagine a future where like They Might Be Giants, another favorite of the “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!” set, they begin recording kids albums. Judging from I’ll Be Your Girl, they’d probably be great at it. But the fact that they’ve basically sandwiched a couple of kids tunes into the same album as a suite about a killer sex mermaid only highlights how confused and directionless this band is right now. Where they once specialized in meticulously plotted albums, now they mostly seem to be winging it. They’re still making some alluring music, yet their albums have never sounded more disjointed.
•→√•→        https://pitchfork.com/
Also:
WILL HERMES | Score: ***
•→√•→        Colin Meloy swaps britches for leather jeans, stylistic fusions and confusions ensue.
•→√•→        The Decemberists do a very particular thing — darkly ornate, literary~minded, self~consciously verbose Anglophile prog~folk~rock — exceedingly well, so well that you can’t blame ’em for wanting to do something else. They do just that on I’ll Be Your Girl, at least in parts, the upshot being, well, a re~affirmation of that particular thing they do exceedingly well.
•→√•→        In a robust artisanal pop marketplace (the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, the Head and the Heart, etc.) where bands might look to U2 or Coldplay as pop~crossover models, our gang stick closer to what used to be called “the left of the dial,” when there was a dial. “Once in My Life” (rhymes with “could just something go right?”) is a sad sack anthem so archetypal, it’s comically uplifting, Morrissey~style sentiments with soaring New Order synths and a Peter Hook~ish bass melody. “Severed” frames the thoughts of an aspiring old~school mass murderer with click~track~tempo beats and industrial~strength guitar noise, while “We All Die Young” is a surrealist glam stomp with a children’s chorus. Both feel too calculated by half. More promising shapeshifts are “Everything Is Awful,” an Abba anthem for the Trump era that rises to a snarly crescendo of “la~la~la”s, and the touching, reverb~y title track, a thematic nod to Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend” via Buddy Holly. But the highlight may be “Rusalka, •→√•→        Rusalka/The Wild Rushes” a bifurcated eight~inute prog~folk~rock ballad about a moony young lover following a siren’s song to a watery grave. It’s what might be labeled a Decemberists stock~in~trade, with no apologies needed.
•→√•→        https://www.rollingstone.com/
By Ben Salmon  |  March 16, 2018  |  10:21am  |  Score: 7.8
•→√•→        https://www.pastemagazine.com/
Jenny Conlee: http://jennyconlee.com/
Website: http://www.decemberists.com/
Interview
par Charlotte Woolard, Publié le Jan 26, 2016
•→√•→        https://reverb.com/news/reverb-interview-the-decemberists-jenny-conlee
Hello to Everyone,
•→√•→        I am very sorry to say that I will be missing a few shows coming up as I go through treatment for breast cancer. It has been great to be on tour these past few weeks. The band and crew are like family to me and have been incredibly supportive and understanding. To be making music with everyone and seeing the fans has helped me to feel more positive and keep my mind off of my diagnosis. But, alas, as the tour winds down, it is time for me to get back to reality. I will try to get into surgery as soon as I can after we return from this leg of the tour so I can begin my recovery. There are still a few unknowns out there concerning my cancer, but I am thinking positive and hope to be back on the road soon. Thanks for all of your support! See you soon!
Lots of love, Jenny
Thanks for everyone’s understanding during this crazy time.
Yours,
Colin Meloy
The Decemberists
The Decemberists and Gaelynn Lea fill the Palace Theatre with warmth and wit.
Decemberists setlist:
•→        Everything Is Awful
•→        Your Ghost
•→        Sucker’s Prayer
•→        Make You Better
•→        Cutting Stone
•→        Leslie Anne Levine
•→        The Bagman’s Gambit
•→        Yankee Bayonet
•→        Of Angels and Angles
•→        Starwatcher
•→        Down by the Water
•→        Severed
•→        We All Die Young
•→        16 Military Wives
•→        Once in My Life
First encore:
•→        Rusalka, Rusalka/Wild Rushes
•→        Ben Franklin’s Song
•→        I’ll Be Your Girl
Second encore:
•→        Skyway
•→        The Mariner’s Revenge Song
April 7, 2018
♠■♠♠■♠♠■♠_____________________________________________♠■♠♠■♠♠■♠

The Decemberists — I’ll Be Your Girl (16th March 2018)

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