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Out and about.

It got into many a reviewer’s top ten list for the best albums of the year; curious, I shrugged and thought I would have a go at it, too.

After a couple of listens, I still could not make what to think of it. Not many albums have a Japanese folk tale to tell.

So. Is it any good?

Uhmmmmmmm…

It is bad, then?

No – far from it, actually.

Well, what is wrong with it?

Actually, I do not quite know. Let me think some more.

Okay. It makes me feel guilty to be caught listening to their music, for one.

Too country-ish. Too happy. Too chorus-y.

It is like I am expecting cows to come a-running, then suddenly leaping to their hind feet to do a merry jig in front of me, tails swishing behind them gaily – or a group of kids in uniform bursting into song, their eyes holding an abundance of joy, teeth sparkling white and fit for toothpaste commercials.

Then I read one glowing review, where the reviewer sums it up as such:

“You will feel like a pansy. No question about it.”

Argggggh!

Still, Summersong is yippee-yay and whoopedy-woo, yes, but…

Probably all the more apt to start listening to them in December – and to then immediately balance things up with a band of a more ominous sounding name.

Details of this entry.Tuesday, December 19, 2006, filed under Reviews.
This entry is open to comments.
Recent tracks played are displayed on Last.fm.So Divided, ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead


  1. The Decemberists album isn’t that good, really. It certainly didn’t top my list, although “Summersong” is probably the best song on that album and it is quite good.

    Anna | 20/12/06 02:22 AM



  2. The album is like…so…ugh…happy. It’s like you could use the songs to teach pre-schoolers in kindie. It’s like songs that you’ll find your head bobbing left and right just listening to them. Ugh, I think just thinking about those songs is making my head bob now.

    Kwok Weng | 20/12/06 05:32 PM



  3. You may wanna balance it up with some chemical romance. Woohoo!

    Wong | 20/12/06 05:55 PM



  4. Anna – Yeah, well… it must be not that bad an album, considering its inclusion in quite a number of “Best of 2006” lists.

    Then again, I have a habit for liking albums that most reviewers hate. Heh heh.

    (Yes, people, here’s where you may attack me for loving Keane’s Under the Iron Sea.)

    Kwok Weng – I’m gonna give it a few more spins, but I’ll maintain that it’s just too happy for me – I’m so frazzled from work, it hardly helps! :D

    Wong – Bah… that will have to wait. I have a couple of new stuff to listen to. :D

    Strizzt | 20/12/06 08:57 PM



  5. Crane Wife is not bad. But I have an issue with them lumping songs together to make a 12 minutes song that I can’t seperate from one another on my ipod…

    eyeris | 21/12/06 06:35 PM



  6. Eyeris – Heh, I can relate to that… my eyes kept straying to the song title (I was listening to a song that was almost 17 minutes long)…

    Strizzt | 21/12/06 09:35 PM



  7. i have no qualms with 12 minute songs. my ipod can actually hold songs like that, amazingly. and i too have an amazing 12-minute attention span. it’s helped me watch cartoons in two parts.
    and if u ask me, it’s the best decemberists album yet. altho it’s difficult to even fit a sheet of paper between this and picaresque.
    happy? and what’s wrong with that? oh, i get it. happy, catchy = bad. sad, morose = good.
    you must’ve also hated the snow patrol album because it’s ‘so easy’.
    let’s not forget, they’re producing albums at a steady 1.5 year pace. there’s really nothing to complain about unless you’re the sort who just likes to complain. oh, wait.

    soporific | 23/12/06 02:07 PM



  8. Soporific – It’s somehow too happy for me – if you must know, I prefer the “happy” songs from the likes of say, Sugar Ray (yes, pick your jaw off the ground already!). Then again, maybe it’s not “happy” per se – more like, uhm, “pop-ish”.

    Perhaps others will fall into your equation of “happy = bad, morose = good” but not me.

    Speaking of Snow Patrol… didn’t think of it as “so easy”, but I clicked better with Final Straw.

    And of course, you do know that I tend to complain about lots of things, don’t you? :D

    Strizzt | 23/12/06 07:55 PM



  9. ya, bitch, bitch, bitch:).

    altho, a point to be made is that, the decemberists album wasnt actually happy. it just sounded that way. but nevermind, i guess irony is too much work.

    soporific | 23/12/06 09:57 PM



  10. “Oh Valencia,
    With your blood still warm on the ground,
    Valencia,
    And I’ll burn this whole city down,
    Valencia,
    With your blood gettin’ cold on the ground,
    Valencia,
    And I swear to the stars,
    I’ll burn this whole city down.”

    “Look for me when the sun-bright swallow,
    Sings upon the birch bough high.
    But you are in the ground with the voles and the weevils,
    All a’chew upon your bones so dry.
    But when the sun breaks,
    To no more bulletin battle-cry,
    Then will you make a grave,
    For I will be home then.”

    “I will dress your eyelids,
    With dimes upon your eyes,
    Laying close to water,
    Green your grave will rise.
    Go to sleep little ugly,
    Go to sleep you little fool,
    Forty-winking in the belfry,
    You’ll not feel the drowning.”

    “A terrible autonomy,
    Has grafted onto you and me,
    Our trust put in the government,
    They told their lies as heaven-sent,
    ‘Til the war came.
    And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul,
    And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball,
    And they’re picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight,
    When the war came, the war came hard.”

    “The Shankill Butchers on the rise,
    They’re waiting ‘til the dead of night.
    They’re picking at their fingers with their knives,
    And wiping off their cleavers on their thighs,
    ‘Cos everybody knows…
    The Shankill Butchers wanna kill you,
    The Shankill Butchers wanna cut you,
    The Shankill Butchers wanna catch you
    Awake.”

    And that’s just The Crane Wife. The Decemberists tell more tragic and vicious tales, and tell them more captivatingly, than any other band I know. I strongly suspect that there’s more death in one Decemberists album than in all the Trail of Dead albums put together, funnily enough. You just need to be paying attention. Not to say that happy is bad, but this sure as begorrah ain’t happy.

    But I suppose it could be used to teach pre-schoolers, if you’re intent on teaching the poor buggers about murder and vengeance and slaughter and hatred and so on.

    holy_cow | 23/12/06 09:57 PM



  11. what seems strange is that decemberists = too poppy.
    keane = not too poppy

    soporific | 23/12/06 09:59 PM



  12. Soporific – Eh, Keane is still poppy to me – despite the “darkness” of the second album.

    holy_cow – I see you got dragged into this as well. :P But yeah – I guess that’s where lies our differences – some of us fall for the lyrics; others by how potential of a sing-a-long or how affecting the music can be; then there are those who judge how much they love a song by how often it loops in their heads.

    I suppose by now you both know which category I fall into. ;)

    Strizzt | 24/12/06 07:27 PM



  13. nobody got dragged into anything. we’re all free to decide.

    now which should it be, tv on the radio, or joanna newsom…

    soporific | 24/12/06 09:08 PM



  14. Soporific – Tried both. Low tolerance level for songs that are more than 15 minutes long, apparently.

    Strizzt | 25/12/06 11:18 AM



  15. So you must like Ms. Newsom’s new album, since only one track goes over 15 minutes. ;-)

    As I’ve said elsewhere and will continue to say – Guillemots Guillemots!

    Allmusic be goshdarned. Those who say it’s too quiet just don’t have enough echo-space in their heads. Thankfully, mine is cavernous.

    holy_cow | 27/12/06 11:48 AM



  16. holy_cow – Actually, no – I think Newsom’s music is not quite the kind of stuff that tickles my fancy. Besides, “Only Skin” gets on my nerves…

    I’ve been trying a bunch of “new” stuff lately; the ones that got my attention are those released, like, 2-3 years ago (!!).

    Strizzt | 27/12/06 09:27 PM



  17. yes holy cow, its practically cavernicous.

    two three years ago? what? hail to the thief?:)

    soporific | 28/12/06 10:45 PM



  18. Soporific – No, stuff like Sia and Jack Johnson.

    Strizzt | 29/12/06 09:01 PM



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