For fans of indie folk rock, you’re in for a pleasant surprise with the latest release from The Decemberists. This band is taking the world by storm, as their 2011 CD, The King Is Dead, skyrocketed all the way to number one on the Billboard charts. Led by lead singer Colin Meloy, The Decemberists use many different instruments to achieve a sound that is comparable to very few others. Their first live album, We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Songs 04.11 – 08.11), was released in March and simply put, this two-disc set is a thing of beauty.
Starting off disc number one is “The Infanta,” which begins with Meloy making a joke about Keith Urban before his voice blends remarkably with the guitars. After the soothing “Calamity Song” is “Rise To Me,” which has a much more country theme to it than others but nevertheless, Meloy shows off his harmonica towards the end and promptly receives a round of applause. “The Soldiering Life” is emotional and with the trumpets, upbeat drums and acoustic guitars, it’s a solid track. Other notable songs off the first disc are “The Rake Song” and my personal favorite, “Down By The Water.”
The second disc offers much of the same, as tunes like “All Arise!” feature Chris Funk jamming with the electric guitar, Jenny Conlee playing the keys to perfection and Sara Watkins playing the violin beautifully. A complete all-around track, “Rox In The Box” is astounding, as Watkins complements Meloy on vocals and the use of instruments is mind-blowing. “This Is Why We Fight” is another song that will have you rocking out like there’s no tomorrow.
This two-disc set really caught me by surprise. Meloy’s voice is fantastic and it’s cool how they recorded songs from all over the country and mixed them flawlessly into one live release.