The Decemberists

The King Is Dead

Written by: TL on 02/02/2011 20:45:45

Back in 2009 I had my first experience with a record by The Decemberists, and seeing as I was quite impressed with "The Hazards Of Love", I got interested rather quickly, when I noticed that the band would release a new album titled "The King Is Dead" this January. In case you don't know the band, they are a quintet from Portland who play indie/folk with heavy emphasis on the folk, and "The King Is Dead" is the band's sixth studio LP.

The album should probably have been called "Long Live The King" instead, because the positive part of the phrase is far more fitting of the music included. The Decemberists still sound like something in between Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes and Ryan Adams, except maybe even more folk than them all rolled together. Compared to the last album however, the haunting and dense "The Hazards Of Love", "The King Is Dead" seems much brighter, more light-hearted and content. I kind of want to say that it is to "Hazards.." what Jimmy Eat World's "Chase This Light" is to their "Futures".

You might not be a JEW fan though, so what you need to know is that these songs are more traditionally structured, and they stand apart from each other easier, just as they are easier to get into. In fact, they are easier listening all together, that's the good news. The bad news is that this comes at the cost of impact. "Hazards.." had immense relisten-value and was a thing of dark allure, and in comparison, this seem like a much more obvious and grounded effort, to the point where I sometimes question myself if I even feel like there's anything at stake in the songs.

If you don't mind that though, and you don't terribly mind a doze of American folk either, then The Decemberists are still some of the most steady proponents of the style, as proven by enjoyable little songs like "Calamity Song", "June Hymn" and "This Is Why We Fight". Overall, the record feels slighty too much on the laid-back, unambitious side, but it will still sound soothing and likely put you in a good mood if you leave it on at your place.

Download: Calamity Song, This Is Why We Fight, June Hymn
For The Fans Of: Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, Ryan Adams,

Release Date 17.01.2011
Rough Trade Records

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