Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday December 12th 2018

Archives

Ears & Fingers 1/2/15

The Decemberists-What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World
I can’t say that the Decemberists’ last two albums, “The Hazards of Love” and “The King is Dead,” were bad by any means. What I will say about them is that they didn’t really feel like Decemberists albums. It felt like the band peaked with “The Crane Wife” and then took a sabbatical to try some new things. “The Hazards of Love” is a concept album/rock opera that was actually supposed to be a musical rather than an album. “The King is Dead” was intended to get in touch with the band’s country/folk side. Both albums had their own merits, but never seemed to quite land themselves side by side with the grandeur of “Picaresque” or “Her Majesty, The Decemberists,” based solely on experimentation.

“What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World” is a return to form for the band, and it’s quite welcome. Opening track, ‘The Singer Addresses his Audience,’ plays out as an apology of sorts, beginning with the lyrics, “We know, we know we belong to you. We know you’ve built your life around us.” Front man, Colin Meloy is aware that what we knew as The Decemberists left for a few years and that fans had to cling to what they were and he is sorry. The apology is properly backed up and the songs on this new LP are comforting, as they harken back to all the reasons why we fell in love with the band in the first place. The album is theatrical again, with stories and characters we might be more likely to see  in a play or a novel. Meloy is back on top of his songwriting prowess.

The album was led by two singles: mega jam ‘Make You Better,’ which has an amazing music video starring Nick Offerman, and the XM premiered ‘The Lake Song.’ The former feels like “The Crane Wife” era, while the latter seems to float all the way back to “Castaways and Cutouts.” Granted, with an album of fourteen songs, it’s difficult to stay on task and write fourteen hits, but the majority of these songs are catchy and are guaranteed to please long-time fans and new listeners alike. Not that I would ever ask a band I love to stop experimenting or trying new things, but it definitely feels good to have The Decemberists back that I fell in love with, even if it’s only for a short while. Welcome back, Her Majesty, The Decemberists. “What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World” will be out January 20 via Capitol Records.

Track of the Week: Modest Mouse-Lampshades on Fire
I know I’m a bit behind, but this has actually been the track of my last three weeks. We have all been aware that Modest Mouse have been touring again and tensions have been getting high surrounding a new album we have been promised since 2012. Well, “Strangers to Ourselves,” Modest Mouse’s first new album in eight years is finally on the way and ‘Lampshades on Fire’ is our first brilliant taste. It’s about three minutes long and showcases everything we have always loved about Modest Mouse. Check it out anywhere you stream music. “Strangers to Ourselves” is set to be released March 3 via Epic Records.