Thursday, January 20, 2011

A January Review of The Decemberists' New Album


The Decemberists have parred down their style and got back to their roots in their new album, The King Is Dead and I'm liking some but not all of it. The group embraces a more down-home, americana approach that is almost anachronistic for its time—with no point of reference, it would be difficult to discern whether the songs heralded from yesteryear's recordings of appalacian folk, the 1970s movement, or today's freak folk scene.
I predict that "Don't Carry It All" and "Calamity Song" (a tribute to R.E.M. that doesn't remind us of "Talks about Passion" at all...nope) will garner the most itunes downloads but I personally enjoyed "January Hymn" for its honest, simple melodies. Those who, like me, abhor country music should be warned though, the slower songs have more twang than you might like and toe the line between folk and folk country; "Dear Avery" especially starts out well but then crosses over into what I deem unlistenable territory (thanks to the introduction of the Dobro a minute or so in).

All in all, I don't think The Decemberists can compete with the best out there in freak folk right now—I'm thinking Mumford & Sons (if you haven't heard them yet, look them up, they're divine)—but fans probably won't be too disappointed by the latest offering.

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