Debut album from Portland's The Decemberists. Castaways And Cutouts carried on where Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel had left off. Fuzzed out guitar tracks informed by folk and Americana, Colin Meloy's earnest delivery easily covering Mangum's tracks. It's no wonder that their debut album was so well received. Granted their recordings are a little cleaner, but that does not take away from the music at all. The lively anthem of "July, July!" sets the pace on the heels of the two subdued opening tracks. It's followed by the accordion driven "A Cautionary Song" which gives way to the album's high point, "Odalisque." The songs peaks and valleys are moved along by Jenny Conlee's driving organ. From there the album gently winds down as the band moves effortlessly through songs like "The Legionnaire's Lament" and "Clemintine." It's all wrapped up in the stunning one two punch of album closer "California One / Youth And Beauty Brigade." Once it's over The Decemberists leave you wanting more.
- 180 gram pressing
- music label: Hush Records 2002 / Jealous Butcher Records 2008
reviewed by Hank Ohs 11/2014