Colin Meloy: Colin Meloy Sings Live! [Album Review]

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Colin Meloy
Colin Meloy Sings Live!
Kill Rock Stars [2008]

Colin Meloy is better known to all as the lead singer of The Decemberists. This solo live record is a nice expansion of several “Sings” tour-only EPs he has released recently, which have been cover records of Morrissey, Shirley Collins, and Sam Cooke. This album captures the very familiar and comfortable atmosphere that Meloy brings to all of his live solo performances and with The Decemberists in an acoustic setting. You get the friendly joking banter, crowd enjoyment with clapping and laughter, and solid presentation of the material. Two of the fourteen tracks are previously unreleased compositions: one being “Wonder,” which has a familiar Decemberists feel to it, and “Dracula, Dracula,” which is introduced as the worst song Meloy has ever written. He is probably correct with this statement, but his acknowledgment of its poor quality and the inclusion of the track captures the true spirit of his shows. His easygoing attitude makes the record better because no studio recording can reproduce this energy. The songs included here are from The Decemberists’ first three albums: Castaways and Cutouts [2002], Her Majesty [2003], and Picaresque [2005], along with a cut from their EP and one from Meloy’s old band Tarkio. Unfortunately for us, when Sings Live! was recorded on his ’06 solo tour, no tracks from the excellent The Crane Wife [2006] are included here, but small short covers of The Smiths, R.E.M., and Fleetwood Mac easily make up for it. Overall, this will be a record for fans because although it is not a bad place for an introduction to Colin, it can be far more appreciated if you know where he is coming from!

Key Tracks: “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” / “Wonder” / “The Engine Driver”

Artists With Similar Fire: The Decemberists / Bright Eyes / Britt Daniel

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