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The Decemberists - Always The Bridesmaid: Vol 2 CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

2.60 | 5 ratings

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The Whistler
Prog Reviewer
3 stars As Leif the Lucky said to his cabin boy, now we’re getting somewhere (now pass me that ale)! Raping and plundering aside, I far prefer the second single in the Always the Bridesmaid series to the first, and for one reason. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

From the first piano notes and soaring chorus in, “Days of Elaine” sounds like it might be “Valerie Plame Take Two.” And, structurally, it is somewhat similar; this is indie power pop, if you will. The difference here is that the song overall has twenty times as much energy as “Plame,” and even, in that soaring chorus (“And the time that it takes, well it goes-so-slow”), a hint of sentiment.

If you’re not convinced it’s good by the end of the song, stick around; “Days of Elaine (Long Version)” is probably THE REASON this singles series was created. The first four minutes are, well, the same as the short version, but then it spins into two minutes of a rhythmic workout; and any excuse for the Decemberists to show off their instrumental chops is well taken from me. Toss in some sound effects here and there, and you have epic indie power pop, a fairly clever move on the band’s part if you ask me.

Shame then that we decide to finish the single off with “I’m Sticking With You,” a cover of a Velvet Revolver song. If “Elaine” was a minor bright spot in the Decemberists’ catalogue, then this cover is a minor birth defect. Dirty, draggy and stylistically thin, the song lingers on way too long with a deconstructionist ending that was far better pulled off in “I Was Meant for the Stage.” The only fun thing about this number is that all the band members switched instruments, a minor footnote at best.

Leave it to Colin Meloy and the boys to do this. Take the best song from the Always the Bridesmaid series, play it twice, then stick it next to the worst song in the series. “Elaine” was, unsurprisingly, my introduction to this series (saw it on the Conan O’Brian show), and I was delighted to hear it in its full form. But there is really no reason to hear the B-side, unless you dig the Decemberists and the Revolver. Still, anyone who wants to hear something called epic-indie-power-pop should track down the titular track, if only for giggles.

The Whistler | 3/5 |


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