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Listening

Decibully, City of Festivals

Formed from parts of The Promise Ring and Camden, and with a history that’s too confusing to even attempt recounting, Milwaukee’s Decibully oozes the kind of damaged beauty that would be right at home at the end of a dark cul-de-sac, late Big Star and Elliott Smith the neighbors on either side.

William Siedel’s controlled, almost-too-pretty vocals soar across the landscape of every track, atop achingly beautiful musical arrangements, many of which feature the most well-placed banjo this side of ‘The Rainbow Connection.’ The songs all lean toward a yearning, toward a reaching-out hopefulness that is so bald-faced in its honesty that it must be heard to understand how intense and real it actually is. It’s not weepy music at all; in fact, it’s just powerfully moving. The lyrics leave an indelible impression in their wake, prefer as they do to get straight to the soul of the matter. Siedel, however, can make even the harshest of subject matter (addiction, on ‘My Lighter and Strings’) into a thing of complete beauty.
So you want to call it a problem?
It’s just a habit I have
And I would like to kick it somehow
It’s like quitting cigarettes
And the harder that I try to break these chains
The tighter they get
And the longer that it takes to stop this car
The shorter the ride gets
Absolutely, totally, completely, and uncompromisingly: hauntingly beautiful.

biopic

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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