Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Decemberists: The King is Dead

By now you probably can't escape talk about The Decemberist's new album The King Is Dead, but to my way of thinking all of the talk is merited.  I've been listening to them since Picaresque and they're probably my favorite band since REM.  Colin Meloy's heady (and often dark) lyrics and unique voice combined with a catchy melodies is a winning combination.  Their previous work, The Hazards of Love, a concept rock opera piece, was quite a bit different than the album before, The Crane Wife, which was a folk rocky album thematically based around the eponymous Japanese folk tale.

The King is Dead returns to a form that is closer to The Crane Wife.  Closer both lyrically and stylistically.  The music is upbeat folk/roots style.  They've found some strong support in other artists as well.  Peter Buck plays his unmistakable style of guitar on "Calamity Song" and Gillian Welch sings a subtle backing vocals on most tracks.

NPR has a nice review of the album and until January 18th you can stream the whole thing.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

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