Sing Out America!
In many reviews, Milwaukee’s Decibully is frequently likened to Wilco-particularly the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot years. After hearing Decibully’s March 5 release, Sing Out America!, my response to this comparison is “whaaa?” Granted, Decibully is from the Midwest, has a bit of a twang, uses a whole kitchen-sink full of instruments (including popular favorites such as wine glasses, marching snare and kazoo), and lead singer William J. Seidel does a stellar Jeff Tweedy impression on a few tracks. That said, Decibully utilizes a much more off-kilter style, frequently interrupting the flow of the music with banjo, clashing vocals or heavy percussion. Their instrumental menagerie allows them a much more unique sound than they are sometimes given credit for. Just as the listener gets settled into a quiet, comforting groove, they bust out something entirely different. Fortunately, Decibully seems to relish in the awkwardness that their unpredictably creates.
While some of the tracks of Sing Out America! are a little more experimental, Decibully doesn’t shy away from the tried and true. In fact, they do it quite well. Their single, “Penny, Look Down,” has a straight-up classic pop-rock/The Arcade Fire feel, with more emphasis on driving beats, blended vocals, and electric guitar than other tracks. It’s made to be catchy, and as soon as it hits daylight, it’s gonna catch on.
The overall concept of the album may explain some of the sudden style changes between and within tracks. The album art is composed of a series of dramatic black and white photos of new subdivisions and urban sprawl, and the title seem to point to (duh) a commentary on the state of our great nation. Perhaps their scattered nature is a result of trying to truly find some sort of generational identity in a conflicted time. Or something philosophical like that. Decibully heralds Sing Out America!, their third album, as their first LP to be written as one cohesive unit from start to finish. This is a goal in which they may fall short due to the erratic nature of the tracks, but this may not necessarily be a bad thing. The former members of The Promise Ring come together to create an intriguing album that finally does justice to the energy of their live shows.
Decibully will be appearing at the Courtyard Cafe this Friday at 8 p.m. The show also features Owen, the Snake The Cross The Crown and Colonel Rhodes.