The Decemberists

We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11)

The Decemberists
With 20 tracks spread across two hours, this career-spanning live album showcases both the Decemberists' charm and their tendency to be grating in their whimsical theatricality. Certainly, the band have their share of excellent songs: the folksy "June Hymn" is gorgeously reverent, while "Leslie Ann Levine" and "O Valencia!" showcase frontman Colin Meloy's talent for marrying an inventive story with a memorable melody. On the other hand, these highlights are bogged down by misfires likes the grating "The Rake's Song" and smirking, overlong sea shanty "The Mariner's Revenge Song." And while the sing-along outro of "Billy Liar" was doubtlessly entertaining for participants, it doesn't translate on record. We All Raise Our Voices to the Air certainly won't convince sceptics, but fans of the group's drama club leanings might get a kick out of hearing them cut loose on stage. (Capitol)
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