BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
“Oh, For once in my life…Could just something go right?” singer Colin Meloy pleads on “Once In Your Life,” the stirring opening track to the Decemberists’ stunning new opus, I’ll Be Your Girl. It seems like a question that’s already been answered to the affirmative, especially given the band’s remarkable advance out of the indie underground. Rarely has a band that’s so adept at creativity and freewheeling execution found such success in the mainstream without having to reign in their more eclectic inclinations. Granted, I’ll Be Your Girl is not an obtuse effort — not by any means — although some songs, the pulsating “Severed” and a full-throttled “Your Ghost,” among them, venture beyond the standard set-up. For the most part, this is an album with a wide draw, both in terms of sentiment and structure. If the Decemberists were making a concerted effort to expand their base, this is the album that should do it.
There’s clear reason why, in fact, it ought to excel. The songs are unceasingly melodic — the catchy “Cutting Stone,” the oddly off kilter “We All Die Young” and the lilting title track being three prime examples of those offerings that bear a sing-along insistency — but beyond that, they also seem to soar. While some numbers dwell on more pessimistic circumstance (“Everything Is Awful, “Sucker’s Prayer,” the aforementioned “We All Die Young”), there’s an unmistakable upward thrust to several of these entries as well, as enhanced by shimmering arrangements and a propulsive infusion of other additives that coalesce behind the choruses. A song like “Starwatcher and the “Once in my Life” appear intent on achieving anthemic-like status, a tendency that colors the album overall. Indeed, there’s a sense of importance and profundity that emanates from practically every groove. Stirring, striking and flush with tunefulness and tenacity, I’ll Be Your Girl is more than a promising proposition
DOWNLOADS: “Your Ghost,” “Once in my Life,” “Cutting Stone”