The Decemberists
Her Majesty
/kill rock stars; 2003/




more info: 

Hangovers suck. With all the technology we've got we're not even able to create side-effects-free drugs. So here i am, feeling queasy. My head aches and i guess that staring at the computer screen doesn't help. I'll make it quick and go back to bed. 

The Decemberists are American. They tell timeless tales, release their second album in a year, title it Her Majesty, the Decemberists, fill it with lines such as "we set to sail on a packet full of spice, rum and tea-leaves", and just don't care. It's not really nostalgia or revivalism, it's more a question of style. Colin Meloy, the Decemberist's heart and brains, by choosing to tell these stories that could take place anytime with obsolete words and syntaxic structures, makes them worth hearing. He pens perfect lyrics and the band sets the tone right, dressing them up in a quickly recognizable old-fashioned fashion. 

Let's take "The Bachelor and the Bride" for instance. It sounds like a radio hit but its abyssal darkness will probably prevent it from ever being played anywhere. have a glimpse:

There's a wrinkle in the water /Where we laid our first daughter
And I think the wind blows sweetly there /Over there.
And the windows and the cinders/ And the willows in the timbers.
The infernal rattling of the rain/ Still remains

"But I," said the bachelor to the bride / "Am not waiting for tonight,
No, I will box your ears/ And leave you here stripped bare."

Hear the corncrakes and the deerhooves/ And the sleet rain on the slate roof.
A medallion locked inside her hands/ In her hands.
And his fingers, are they telling/ Of the barren of her belly ?
Do his calluses cure her wrinkled brow/ Even now ?

"But I," said the bachelor to the bride/ "Am not waiting for tonight,
No, I will box your ears/ And leave you here stripped bare."

They could end up sounding like wise-asses but instead they end up sounding like gentle excentrics at worst, geniuses at best. Castaways and Cutouts, their equally impressive debut, was an exciting introduction and Her Majesty only makes the band's universe wider, deeper and more fascinating, listening after listening. 

-Barbara H

/nov 1st 2003/