"I've invested everything I have into the music," says Brandon Decker. "Energetically, emotionally, financially, everything has gone back into my art and growing as an artist." It's with a wry wink at his bank account, then, that Decker named his new career-spanning album Into The Red. Primarily comprising tracks from the six studio records he's released under the name Decker since 2009, Into The Red offers a bird's eye view of his remarkable journey as a fearless songwriter and relentless performer. The collection reveals him to be a craftsman of the highest caliber, one who's carved a bittersweet catalog of heartrending gems out of the unforgiving stone that is a lifetime spent pursuing dreams.
Album opener "Matchstick Man" is a brand new, driving rocker with a searing message about the troubled times we find ourselves living in today. It also serves as a declaration of artistic intent for Into The Red, announcing from the outset that this isn't simply a Best-Of collection, but rather a vital, timely album populated by a cast of distinctly modern, relevant characters. On the fingerpicked, darkly orchestrated "Patsy" (from the 2015 album of the same title), Decker crafts a portrait of the down-and-out everyman, while 2013's psychedelic "Shadow Days" grapples with the darkness of addiction and the dissolution of a relationship, and the biting doo-wop of "O.D.B." faces off against the naysayers who whisper behind backs.
The production on the collection varies wildly – from the hip-hop drum loops of the minimalist "In The Same Boat" to the ornate, horn and string-band grandeur of "Sun, Shine In" – but Decker's indelible voice and singular perspective tie it all together. His uniquely crooked vision colors everything he touches, and it enables him to put his own unique stamp on a cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which is mashed up here with The Doors' "5 To 1″ in a brand new recording. Into The Red also includes a pair of tracks from Decker's most recent studio release, 2016's Snake River Blues. The two tracks demonstrate both sides of Decker's songwriting instincts, with "The Phantom" stretching out into a sweeping, six-minute, multi-part epic, and the pulse-pounding "Holy Ghost" clocking in at a taught, punchy, three minutes as it revels in the kind of frantic desperation that can only come from a lifetime spent in transit.