The Decemberists: iTunes Session [Album Review]

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The Decemberists
iTunes Session
Capitol Records [2011]

This mostly acoustic 8-song EP from The Decemberists was released exclusively for the iTunes Session series. Overall, it is a nice reworked replay of the band’s catalog, featuring three songs from this year’s The King Is Dead, two covers, one track from The Crane Wife, one track from The Hazards Of Love, and one track from their first 5 Songs EP release. The two covers are where this record shines, as both Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” and the more modern Fruit Bats tune, “When U Love Somebody”, sound great under Colin Meloy’s vocal range. The rest of this EP works out fine, although it would have been stellar had they selected stronger tracks. The iTunes Session also gets solid help from former Nickel Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins and finds The Decemberists in a very musically loose spirit, which will have fans eating this release up. However, it still may not be a starting point for newcomers to their music.

Key Tracks: “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” / “When U Love Somebody” / “Calamity Song”

Artists With Similar Fire: The Builders and the Butchers / R.E.M. / Robyn Hitchcock

Christopher Anthony
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