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Her Majesty The Decembrists

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iTunes Review

En route from Missoula, Montana to Portland, Oregon, the Decemberists' lead singer/songwriter Colin Meloy also stopped by Scotland and another century in his mind on the way. With a voice that often reflects the heavily enunciated cadence of Brit-cult rocker Robyn Hitchcock, Meloy leads his instrumentally adventurous quintet through songs often based in times far away with characters who speak in quaint colloquialisms ("Oh adhere to me / for we are bound by symmetry"). Featuring accordions, string sections, and horns, the arrangements are elaborate and free-spirited throughout the band's second studio album, sharing more in common with Scottish Indie-rock faves Belle & Sebastian than any Northwest rock ensemble. But for all its literary ambition - Meloy has a degree in English, natch - the songs come together over raw emotions that are timeless. "The Gymnast, High Above the Ground" is gray as the Pacific Northwest weather. "I Was Meant for the Stage" could be Meloy's own sly theatrical vision bubbling over the surface. It's only a matter of time before he writes a musical.

Customer Reviews


The Decemberists are probably my favorite band of all time, so it's saying alot for me to declare "Her Majesty The Decemberists" as their best album. I believe this album captures every aspect of The Decemberists, from their beautiful acoustic solos (Red Right Ankle) to the entire band uniting for that perfect folkish rock sound (Chimbley Sweep) that only this group of musicians can achieve. However, the thing that sets this group apart from all the rest is the lead singer and main song writer, Colin Meloy. His voice is truly wonderful and moving, so unlike anything else available in today's modern music scene. And when you hear him belt out his exotic lyrics, filled with words that go beyond anything the typical "power pop" song has, telling the story of the troubled Billy Liar or singing of the bonds of brotherhood formed between soldiers in a time of war, it is a wonder that more people have not discovered this art. You can listen to this album no matter what the mood, as it's impossible not to lose oneself in this unusual music that seems to capture every emotion known to man. This band never fails to put me in a particular mind set where nothing can bother me and this album is no exception.

Moving and Melodic

Colin Meloy is a brilliant songwriter. What makes him so good, is that he doesn't write songs. He writes thought-evoking poetry, stories, and skits. Then his band puts them to innovative indie rock music. The Decemberists have created music for the thinking person. The LA anthem, "Los Angeles, I'm Yours," and "Song for Myla Goldberg" are probably my favorite cuts from this overall amazing album, but there is not one song you would want to miss.

This One Grows on You

Of all The Decemberists music released to date, "Her Majesty" evokes the least immediate response. By the second or third listen, though, you realize it's possibly the best full length album they've yet recorded. "The Chimbley Sweep" is infectiously catchy, and you'll ever after stumble when saying the word chimb-- chimney; the heartfelt lyrics and gentle acoustic strumming on "Red Right Ankle" will get you every time you hear it; you'll never be abe to think of LA the same way after hearing "Los Angeles, I'm Yours." It's impossible not to love this album.


Formed: 2000 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Led by Montana native Colin Meloy, the Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper-literate pop songs that draw heavily from late-'60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention and Pentangle and the early-'80s college rock grandeur of the Waterboys and R.E.M. The band's initial lineup also included drummer Ezra Holbrook, bassist Nate Query, keyboardist/accordionist Jenny Conlee, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk. Frontman Meloy had previously devoted some time to an alternative country group before...
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