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Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009

Decibully’s Long Road to ‘World Travels Fast’

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Decibully’s long-delayed World Travels Fast arrives four years after the band’s last album, and singer William Seidel says its songs reflect that passage of time.

“We definitely needed to slow down, take some time away from the band and focus on our personal lives,” Seidel explains. “We’re all getting older. We’ve been doing this for so long, and there’s only so many days you can sleep on people’s floors and go out on long tours. So during our time off, we all grew up, and a lot of these songs are about growing up and finding out what’s really important and what’s not.”

As a result, World Travels Fast, while maintaining Decibully’s usual beatific, kitchen-sink grandeur, conveys a less idealistic point of view than the Milwaukee indie-rock septet’s more overtly romantic previous works.

“On the first couple records, we were really excited to be in this band,” Seidel says. “We had this mentality that everybody’s going to love us, and maybe we’ll even be able to quit our day jobs. Then reality sets in. You see an opportunity on the horizon, where you could be sleeping in a real bed with a beautiful woman every night, instead of sleeping on the floor with stinky dudes, and you could have a real job and be totally insured, and not worry about skimming free meals from your friend who works at a restaurant.”

World Travels Fast is a conflicted album, torn between these opposing drives for creativity and domestic stability. Many songs play out like cautionary tales. “You got a job with benefits, a new set of friends and a couple kids/ a life that seems good but is completely wrong for you,” Seidel sings on “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

Seidel, who himself recently married, says that in reality, though, Decibully’s members have found a happy balance between music and adult responsibilities.

“There’s always that yearning for that thing you could never grab at, that feeling that we could all become stars, etcetera, but I realize that giving that up has made me happier,” he says. “I have everything I want in life, and I still have the band that I love. As a band, we’ve learned that everybody has to be happy in their own lives if we’re going to have a fun, successful group.”

And after a long downtime, a false start (they tried recording this album in 2006 but didn’t care for the results) and a setback (their former label, Polyvinyl, declined to release the record last year), Decibully is eager to be playing again, ready to tour and promote the new album.

The break with Polyvinyl introduced particular opportunities for the group. Members Nick Sanborn and Andy Menchal formed their own record label, Listening Party Records, releasing World Travels Fast not only on CD and vinyl, but also as a pay-what-you-like download, a timely move that nicely underscores the album’s sub-themes about the rapid prevalence of new technology.

“Nick and Andy say it’s been a pretty interesting social experiment, seeing how much people pay for it,” Seidel says. “A lot of people just grab it, but the average contribution is $5, with some people putting in $20. When you can get the album for free, the fact that anybody would even pay a quarter for it is really pretty awesome—though we’re actually charged a PayPal transaction fee, so if you do want to pay a quarter for it, it’s actually cooler if you just download it for free so we’re not charged anything.”

Decibully plays a 9 p.m. album release show at the Bay View Brew Haus on Friday, Dec. 18, with Invade Rome and Fable and the World Flat. World Travels Fast is available at listeningpartyrecords.com.