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The Decemberists - Her Majesty CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.09 | 41 ratings

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2 stars I guess it is a mistake to assume a linear progression in a group's sound. After throughly enjoying the Decemberists' last two albums as of this date, and as a folkie at heart, I assumed that "Her Majesty" would lean to that end of the spectrum. Instead, it is their most obtuse and lackadaisical effort, combining the few weak aspects of both "Picaresque" and "Crane Wife" while emitting nary a trace of kinetic energy.

From the start of the intriguingly titled "Shanty for the Arethusa", it is apparent that something is very wrong. The whole piece is like a 5 and a half minute introduction, a collection of fits and starts with suspense but no denouement. Meloy's tendency to coy melodrama and smarminess is not kept in check enough here, and it cheapens material that is dynamically challenged to begin with, such as "Los Angeles I'm Yours", "Gymnast" , "Myla Goldberg", and the horrendous "I Was Meant for the Stage". This material winds up being both brocaded and spare at the same time, in a way that leaves me wanting less, or more, of both. Too many other songs are just ok, not offensive but not in any way memorable either, like "The Bachelor and the Bride" and "As I Rise".

A few more enthusiastic songs help salvage this disappointment from outright expulsion, those being "Billy Liar" and "The Chimbley Sweep" both showing evidence of future potential, but I cannot even abide "Her Majesty" let alone worship her.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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