in Review

Long Live the King

The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Last September, myself and fellow Damorgue blogger Nancy Tin-Tin went to Bumbershoot. There we had the pleasure of seeing indie folk rockers The Decemeberists. Not only that but we got to hear three new cuts off of their then unreleased album before anyone else. This was also where frontman Colin Meloy announced the new album, what a way to hear about it huh? That’ll always stick with me, but hey, now we got that album to focus on.

“Folk Rock” I suppose is the best way you could sum up this mixed bag of multi-instrumentalists, though I’m not sure where the accordion fits into all of this. The results are both a very American and rootsy sound, complete with bright acoustics and soulful vocals. Known in the past for their lengthy concept albums, The King is Dead is much more basic in it’s approach and overall sound. It’s also the group’s shortest album at 40 something minutes and although it’s a bit lacking in ingenuity, the overall feel is one of enthusiasm and joy. At least that’s how I feel, hard to read that Colin Meloy, he’s so deep.

Thus far critics have compared this new work to something Bruce Springsteen might cook up, which I guess can understand. Another recurring comparison has been to R.E.M with songs like “Down By the Water” which is funny because who else is featured on the track but R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck, also featured on two other tracks. Of course The Decemeberists don’t need much assistance when it comes to additional musicians, they themselves are already proficient multi-instrumentalists and musicians in general.

I’ve always felt that Colin Meloy is like the folk rock answer to Ben Gibbard, or maybe you could say he’s Oregon’s answer to Washington’s favorite Indie songwriter. Both posses a gentle, almost angelic singing voice and are both talented wordsmiths. Though I’ll always be a bigger Death Cab fan, The Decemeberists will always be there when I feel like something earthier from our Northwest brothers down south.

Favorite Tracks: “Calamity Song”, “Down By the Water”, “Rox In the Box”