January 3, 2011

SHOULDN'T IT HAVE RELEASED LAST MONTH?:

First Listen: The Decemberists, 'The King Is Dead' (Sarah Wardrop, 1/02/11, NPR)

On The King Is Dead, Meloy prepares listeners for change in his opening line: "Here we come to a turning of the season." It not only signals different lyrical themes, but also provides an introduction to a new musical lightness for The Decemberists. The new record opts to tame the band's indulgences, and also reroutes its musical focus: Instead of pointing solely to the British folk that has long inspired him, Meloy digs deep into the American roots-music lexicon, even merging the two in the sea shanty/mining tune "Rox in the Box."

From the R.E.M. nod in "Calamity Song" (which features Peter Buck) to the mountainized "Honky-Tonk Woman" intro of "All Arise!," this is a sort of tribute album with no cover songs, as well as a rock record with roots. And who better to serve as co-pilot on that journey than Gillian Welch, who appears on a majority of The King Is Dead's 10 tracks?



Posted by Orrin Judd at January 3, 2011 5:24 PM
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