The Decemberists - I'll Be Your Girl
I'll Be Your Girl
This likely is not The Decemberists album you've been waiting for. I'll Be Your Girl the bands eigth full length ditches some of the more grandiose music of the bands past and instead pulls in the synths and catchiness. Some band from the indie explosion of a few years ago have tried similar moves with pretty disastrous results as of late. It feels like chasing something that the band never really owned, creating an evolution simply to remain relevant rather than sqome true artistic bend. With The Decemberists it is a bit different though becauuse adding synths to this deep, historically bent music gives it a whole other dimension. There is also an aspect seen on the very first track "Once in My Life" of really going for something that people can relate to rather than solely focusing on telling some old story from Norway or something. The Decemberists are fantastic at bringing history oand myth to life and giving it this interesting musical base to help you get your hands around it, but here they are much lighter an nimble willing to take risks musically rather than simply tell a story. This is going to leave some of the die hard fans missing they more expansive story telling, but it will allow the casual listeners to actually give the band a shot. It doesn't all work, "Your Ghost" is clawing and annoying with this high pitched screeching throughout. "Everything is Awful" might be the worst song on the record because it is so repetitive and so out of place for The Decemberists that you never once find yourself buying in. The Decemberists are not an emo band, and I don't want to hear them being so sad for no reason. The band sound like they are having fun with these tunes but not putting that much stock into them.
"We All Die Young" a classic rock romp which even has a guitar solo, a kind of crazy departure for the band. This album feels like they are trying new things at almost every corner but only for a brief moment then they move on. There is nothing save for the vocal that really unifies this record. It is so disparate each song feels like it could be it's own whole album if they were really willing to dig deep. ""Rusalka, Rusalka/Wild Horses" is classic Decemberists, some old timey tale with lutes and fiddles aplenty but even here the band doesn't feel fully invested in what they are doing. The record really looses steam as it goes on in a very noticeable way. It begins with some much promise and vitality but then slowly the synths fall away, the invention does too and we are left with a pretty basic Decemberists album. "Once in My Life" sets you up with such promise and different exciting sounds from The Decemberists but then they do nothing with all that good and the album gets worse and worse as the tracks progress. I'm a Decemberists fan, really always have been, to the point where a track or two from here may make it on to a few of my playlists, but I really wanted better and bolder from them here. This isn't going to break The Decemberists, nor is it going to propel them through to the mainstream, and maybe that's ok eight albums in.
6.9 out of 10