Since 2009, Brandon Decker has written, produced and released a trove of mesmerizing music, an expansive palette of folk, gospel, rock and psychedelia recorded under the nom de plume decker.
While hard to pigeonhole, there’s a purposeful duality to decker.’s work: it’s sparse, yet full. Also: intense, romantic, cryptic, hypnotic and raw. decker. will release Patsy on February 17, 2015.
Patsy is the follow up to 2013’s much-hailed “desert gospel masterpiece,” Slider. Recorded at WaveLab Recording Studio (Neko Case, Iron & Wine, DeVotchKa) in Tucson, Patsy veers from quiet shuffles to noisy guitar jams and horn-driven ballads, but never becomes quixotic or difficult.
Backed by a bevy of Tucson-based musicians, the cohesion on Patsy comes first and foremost lyrically. “I knew the album was going to be called Patsy the moment I realized I had to make another album,” says Decker. “I had written a few new songs after swearing I would not make an album this year, and in the midst of writing we got this opportunity to work with Craig at WaveLab. From there it all came together quite quickly. All the songs come from a similar spot.”
On Patsy, that similar spot is decker. embracing the plight of the everyman. The singer touches on socio-economic hardships and political failings; on the title track—an initially pretty acoustic number that veers dynamic and dark—he invokes the image of Lee Harvey Oswald. “Never better over there/never better anywhere” he laments, as the song builds to a repeated refrain of “they shot me down.”
Listen to “Patsy” here:
From an eerie melancholy opening to a foot-stomping midsection and through an extended guitar freakout, the album’s nine-minute musical tour de force “Cellars” actually sums up the album’s theme most succinctly. It’s bitter, but defiant. “I’m not dead but I’m still crawling,” Decker sings. “The walls were made for falling down. I’m not mad but I’m still calling the man who made me shut my mouth.”
As for the duality: the album is bookended (save for a quick intro) by “O.D.B.” and “Ol Dirty Revival,” two themed tracks that lean gospel revival over psychedelic guitar folk. Musical outliers here, in a way similar to Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” they fit Decker’s vision of people betrayed by the outer, unknown dwellers of their social, artistic and professional circles. (And yes, the singer was vibing a certain late Wu-Tang rapper.)
decker. plans to tour extensively after Patsy’s release. A popular live act, he and his band have shared the stage with the likes of The Local Natives, Dr. Dog, Deer Tick and Keller Williams.
Find out more at deckermusic.org