Album Reviews

Decoration – Don’t Disappoint Me Now

(SI) UK release date: 17 October 2005

In thirty years time, when the bunting is down, Ant and Dec will be jabbering away on I Love the 00s, and someone will ask about the music. And people will realise the favour our generation has done the future – music will be the final thing that a double act can’t describe. Our Top-Shop decade has no colour in itself – we sound like all the other decades put together, thankfully shapeless in our constant revivalism. We will defeat nostalgia: we will get it out of our system in one go.

This is one good reason for Ryan Adams and Interpol. The other is that they write new good songs. Bolton’s Decoration are unashamedly under the spell of the late-80s underground – all flat melodies and trebly guitars – and they have written some of the best new songs of 2005. That these are dressed as Dinosaur Jr. folk-pop-rock, or in Kevin Shields distortion doesn’t matter that much.

Their most obvious sonic creditors are probably The Wedding Present – certainly, Stuart Murray’s vocals channel David Gedge’s wonderful alienation and longing. “I’m not very well,” howls Escape Routine; while Every Dog Has It’s Day rewrites Aimee Mann‘s entire catalogue in two lines: “Every dog has it’s day,/ and I’ve had mine”‘. These are really beautiful lyrics, a happy blend of emotional desperation and pitch-perfect wryness. Among the best is Pine: “who knows, I might never have found you/ Touching your toes/ In the alpine section of the garden centre,/ Where anything grows”.

Here the indie-pop revival makes perfect sense: its exultant melodies offer an escape from the pain; its lo-fi production befits the loser, even as it makes those words struggle for clarity over the drums.There is the delicious sense that the arrangements might collapse at any point: everything is held on a knife-edge, and is all the more exhilarating for it.

In fact, they do make it to the end, where Concrete fades out in a splendid, distorted blur. It is somehow both resolved and unresolved. It satisfies, but it keeps something fascinating to itself.

Don’t Disappoint Me Now is not the most original sound, but it was good enough for a Peel session, and it’s the kind of music that makes people love indie. Decoration won’t change the world, and they certainly won’t go mainstream – but they will make a thousand lonely failures happy. Excellent.

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Decoration – Don’t Disappoint Me Now