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The Decemberists - 5 Songs CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

2.26 | 18 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
2 stars '5 Songs' - The Decemberists (4/10)

Every band starts somewhere, and some bands end up quite a long distance from where they began. Nowadays, this group from Portland, Oregon has gone to release some highly artistic and enjoyable releases that reinforce their indie roots with edgy arrangements and the ambition to delve into other, unexpected genres. Now this early EP is not truly bad and not mindless at all; rather, it is painfully mediocre and although a few songs are quite pleasant to listen to, a few really fall short.

The music is essentially acoustic guitar driven backed up with a band and a few unexpected instruments thrown into the mix for good measure. One thing that you might notice on the first listen of this album (here comes a big spoiler!) is that there are actually six songs on the album, contradicting what the song title suggests. I don't know if they did this to get some added hipster cred, or just to be funny but it is not worth much more than a fleeting snicker.

The only two songs that really stand out as being 'good' songs are 'Shiny' and 'My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist,' especially the second one mentioned. These aren't fantastic by any account, but they are well-written and have a decent performance to go along. The lyrics (despite Colin Meloy being a fantastic poet) are sort of ridiculous throughout. Colin goes from singing about having his parents lose him to a pirate in a bet to wanting to work in a bakery to apologizing to his friend for losing a bicycle named Madeleine. Suffice to say, the inane lyrics get irritating, and I completely understand that indie-folk does not usually jump to levels of true profundity and isn't trying to blow anyone away; but compared to a lot of the stuff that this band would do later on, there is not much point to this.

Conor Fynes | 2/5 |


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