hey folks! we’re back with some From the Vault discography reviews. after reviewing King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, i moved on to The Decemberists! this series of reviews covers the band’s whole discography, from 2003’s 5 Songs EP all the way to 2018’s Travelling On! this review was originally written in September 2021.

alright we’re back at it again with The Decemberists’ first full record, 2002’s Castaways and Cutouts:


oooh Leslie Anne Levine is such a dark opening track for how nice and pleasant the music is. it’s always nice to have them play in that space. Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect is a nice, winding track. p solid. July, July is a fucking bop, i’m almost certain this is not my introduction to the track but it is so fucking good. the drums do quite a bit of really solid work on this one. A Cautionary Tale sure is…. something. not sure what the narrator is trying to accomplish with such in depth discussion of how this kids mom makes money, but it reads a bit like a dark put down, or a your mom joke. Odalisque is a real good track, if a bit of a slow wind up. i do really like the acoustic guitar part as it starts ramping up with the first chorus. with the way Odalisque kinda builds, Cocoon is a nice reprieve track, but its not really my style. Grace Cathedral Hill is also a very pleasant track but it kinda moves at the same speed as Cocoon so this part of the record kinda just… blends for me. i’m a huge fan of The Legionnaire’s Lament. lyrically its not like, wildly interesting but its a neat piece about an otherwise not noteworthy historical soldier, but dang this song is just got good energy to it. Clementine is really a touching, beautiful track. kinda slows the mood a bit, but i suspect that’s why the last track is structured like it us. the first half of the track, California One is a nice build up. i dig the way that as they go into each of the choruses they bring this country twang back in real quietly. while i don’t particularly like the bridge between the tracks, Youth and Beauty Brigade is a really nice closer, brings everything to a really nice swell and a good close. also the line about the Multnomah county library fines really spoke to me, lol.

faves – July, July!, The Legionnaire’s Lament
dislikes –

yeah i feel really positively about this album. pacing was really solid, if a bit slow for my taste in places, but they’re allowed to be slow and introspective, lol. Colin Meloy’s vocal performance and lyrical style really shines with the instrumental components of each song. there are some REAL dark themes even here on the first full album, but that’s expected when you’re talking about, well, castaways and cutouts.

Castaways and Cutouts – 6/10

next up, let’s dive into 2003’s Her Majesty the Decemberists

first and previous: 5 Songs EP | next: Her Majesty the Decemberists

all my reviews for The Decemberists