Monday, January 3, 2011

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

Listening to the soon to be released new album from The Decemberists, The King Is Dead,  late last night I was absolutely dumbstruck by the stunning beauty and simplicity of the Americana infused effort. While the REM influence that Colin Meloy readily cites for this album is obviously apparent, there are tones of dozens of other artists like Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Wilco, Ryan Adams, etc.  This sort of influence is of course most significantly furthered by the guest vocals provided by the inimitable Gillian Welch on a number of the tracks. Like Welch's own music, this record is not easy to define in terms of genre because it pulls from so many. For those readers unfamiliar with these names the best comparison I could perhaps make would be to suggest imagining a more folky/countrified Death Cab For Cutie. "Down By The Water" is the most stunningly effective track of the album, and should have sufficient cross-over appeal the find radio play on a wide swath of formats. "This Is Why We Fight" would be my vote for a second single and is one of the spots where you can hear the DCFC comparison. Colin Meloy has often referred to following wherever his muse may take him. With The King Is Dead, he has definitely gone down a new path on this, the band's sixth studio album. The only question that remains, is what path he may take his band down next.

If you hurry you can pick up "Down By The Water" for free on iTunes, but the entire album is well worth your time. If you'd like to check it out in its entirety it's streaming on NPR until the release date. The band will play The Wiltern in LA on February 12th.

The album comes out on January 18th, but is currently available for pre-order.

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