The Decemberists are apparently getting to their "difficult second album" about seven albums late.
Earlier this week, the Portland indie-folk luminaries announced the release of their eighth album, I'll Be Your Girl, and issued a statement suggesting it would be something of a departure for them.
"When you've been a band for 17 years, inevitably there are habits you fall into," said frontman Colin Meloy. Certainly, that was the case with their last record, 2015's What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, which sounded like the last thing a band this far into their career wants to sound like—like a band doing a subpar cover of itself.
So they decided to switch things up. They swapped longtime producer Tucker Martine for John Congleton, who's worked with everyone from St. Vincent to Swans. They changed studios. And then, apparently, they went out and bought a bunch of synthesizers.
"We wanted to free ourselves from old patterns," Meloy said, "and give ourselves permission to try something different."
New single "Severed" certainly seems to support that idea. With its electro-pop gallop and lyrics referencing Trump's autocratic campaign rhetoric, it sounds like New Order in "Blue Monday" mode. Meloy describes the album as "an apocalyptic dance party," and if that's the case, the song—along with its psychedelically stressful video—is certainly an effective teaser.
Here's the full track listing for I'll Be Your Girl:
1. "Once in My Life"
2. "Cutting Stone"
5. "Tripping Along"
6. "Your Ghost"
7. "Everything is Awful"
8. "Sucker's Prayer"
9. "We All Die Young"
10. "Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes"
11. "I'll Be Your Girl"