Sunday, January 02, 2011

NEW!! The Decemberists

2011 is already shaping up to be a very good year musically. Kicking it off is the new release from THE DECEMBERISTS entitled "The King is Dead." Lead singer and principle songwriter Colin Meloy has long held affection for two of my favorite bands, REM and The Smiths. Although musically this new material leans in the direction of the former the imprint of Marr and Morrissey is also evident in the lyrics.

The opening country swing of "Don't Carry it All" gives way to "Calamity Song" which apes "Don't Go Back To Rockville" almost a little to closely for comfort.
"Rox in The Box" tells the tale of a working man trying to do the best he can over a accordion and acoustic strum. "This Is Why We Fight" and "Down By The Water" are the clear standout tracks which both benefit from a heavier guitar presence. "Fight" also has a nice big sing-along chorus that sounds like it will easily be a live staple when they hit the road. (I already detailed my love for "River" and the presence of Peter Buck earlier last month).

The duets between Meloy and Jenny Conlee bring a nice quiet respite the record. You can almost smell the summer rain and the flowers coming through "June Hymn" and a longing in the closing coda "Dear Avery". Although it's probably not Meloy's most intricate lyrical work he still knows how to put a couplet together to evoke emotion. After the disaster that their last record was, "The King Is Dead" is a return to form for the band and a harbinger of a new commitment to making pop confections that in true Smithian fashion make you think and feel at the same time.

(mp3) The Decemberists -- January Hymn (Not my favorite but it seems to one that will keep me out of trouble)

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