Published Sep 16, 2020Decoration Day's debut album, Makeshift Future, is a reflection of life's inevitable uncertainty. This theme hits close to home in the fall, a season known for longer evenings and new semesters. The album's titular track seamlessly captures the feeling of gazing out the window of your barely moved-in bedroom, hoping that the warmth of the season's first sweater guards you from the flood of new challenges in the coming weeks.
With sombre and whimsical instrumentation, Makeshift Future is a warm, assuring hug. Guitarist Justin Orok's strumming is a splendid and gentle fit for end-of-summer campfire ditties like "Harry Goes to War." The mix of woodwinds, upright bass and strings is playful and comforting, similar to the music that scored hand-drawn cartoons. The bumbling bass clarinet in "Wild Birds Unlimited" sounds like a dissonant chorus of birds and the vibraphone of "Cattails" imitates the delicate swaying of the cattails bending in the wind against a latte-coloured sky.
Decoration Day are the tiny, quiet voice that speaks to you in times of need. In "Sadness in Disguise", they remind you that "seasons change when you do." The lyrics are delivered with utmost care like ebbing waves or the kiss of a steaming cup of tea on a cold morning. By album's end, Makeshift Future has grown into its rich, picturesque vision. The final song, "Meadows'', is in some ways a medley of the tracks that came before it. The song progresses like a slow cinematic zoom out, revealing how all the different themes from the previous songs made up one vibrant, coherent scene.
Yet while all the anxieties of life will still continue after the album ends, at least for a few moments, listeners can feel safe and understood among the teetering wreckage of their own makeshift futures. (Independent)