Usually the vibe in Decomposed is low key and fairly serious. That is, unless a Rivers runs through it. And after a year full of hootenannies, incongruous collaborations, and breaking world records, this is surprising absolutely nobody. A few weeks ago he put out a call for a pianist and an a cappella group to help decompose some tunes for us. Along with those folks, he brought a pretty enthusiastic up-and-comer named Jermaine Dupri (!). Throw in a cowboy flutist and three tunes from Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (including a Beach Boys cover) and you have a Rivers-sized holiday spectacle.
The session unfolds in three parts: first there’s “I Was Scared,” on which Cuomo’s joined by his hand-selected pianist Sonya Lee and five members of the Dartmouth Aires, an a cappella group from Dartmouth College. For the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby,” Rivers goes sans piano and full-on a cappella with the Dartmouth quintet on backing harmonies. And then there’s the grand jam of “Can’t Stop Partying,” which features five acoustic guitarists and three percussionists (from bands Crash Kings, Alkaline Trio, Yellowcard, Melee, Reeve Oliver and Ozma), big-hatted flutist Greg Vail, and Mr. Dupri. Fresh for ’08.