Colin Meloy 

Colin Meloy Sings Live!

Colin Meloy’s latest solo side project includes something for everyone. The UM grad and Decemberists’ frontman begins with an acoustic version of Tarkio’s “Devil’s Elbow” (that being Meloy’s long-lost Missoula band); veers to a two-minute introduction to British folk musician Shirley Collins (followed by a cover of her song, “Barbara Allen”); staggers through an awkward two-minute explanation of inanimate objects sharing the stage with him (Meloy haters who think he’s a smug and bookish bore have an easy target here); sneaks in a few unreleased standouts; and leans heavily on stripped-down renderings of Decemberists’ favorites like “We Both Go Down Together” and “The Bachelor and the Bride.”

There’s a lot to chew, but most of it feels like leftovers. It’s strange how, without the backing of the band, all the Decemberists tunes start to run together—one long line of well-written but similarly structured sing-alongs. To Meloy’s credit, he actually references this with an interlude titled, “Evoking a Campfire Sing-along.”

Here’s what does stand out: two unreleased tracks, both memorable for completely different reasons. “Dracula’s Daughter” is aptly introduced as Meloy’s worst song ever, and he milks it for laughs. Then there’s “Wonder,” a sentimental but not sappy tune Meloy wrote for his newborn son. Those two are keepers. (Skylar Browning)
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