Sunday, July 26th, 2009
The Decemberists cover Bjork
amazon.comWe’ll file this one under an oldie (in other words, previously posted some years ago) but a goodie. Bjork is one of those artists who is so unique in vision and delivery that putting together a tribute album would seem to be folly – so naturally it’s been tried. 2004’s READ: Interpreting Bjork gathered ten artists from the Pacific Northwest to reinterpret the Icelandic songstress’ catalog, with largely impressive results. By not attempting to mimic the originals – as previously stated, folly – they’ve collectively crafted a record as eclectic as anything Bjork might have herself done, if decidedly more low-key in tone and execution.
The Decemberists took on one of Bjork’s earliest singles, the rollicking “Human Behavior”, and did a pretty good job on it without altering their own signature sound much at all. It’s interesting how easily such a rhythmic, electronically-infused tune translates to a largely acoustic rendition, and as distinctive an instrument as Colin Meloy’s vocals may be, here they also work quite well.
The Decemberists are in town next Monday night, August 3, at the Kool Haus to play their latest The Hazards Of Love – which I finally picked up and am quite enjoying – and recently stopped in at NPR for a World Cafe session. There’s also interviews at FFWD and The Calgary Sun. Bjork released the live multimedia Voltaic set late last month and on the audio side (haven’t watched the DVD portion yet) does a pretty damn good job of reinventing her own material. And for a live record, it sounds utterly pristine – probably to no one’s surprise. She talked to the Wall Street Journal about the project.