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4.4 out of 5 stars
Long Live The King
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
If you are already under the spell of the Decemberists wonderful "The King is Dead", then this EP is reason to rejoice--6 songs that were acoustically recorded during the same time period as that album. That says a lot, but please understand that there is nothing "left-over" or "scrapped" from these tunes. These songs could easily have been included on the album, and I'm not sure why they weren't, but whatever the reason, they make a very cohesive set. "E. Watson", the first track, reminds us all of what the Decemberists do best--showcase Colin Meloy's plaintive vocals against a tight, richly harmonic background, instrumentation paying homage to traditional folk while never sounding less than modern. When the intensity of his vocal rises at the end of the song to what can only be termed a howl, chills broke out on my arms and I was completely under his spell. "Forgone" is a warmer, more melodic steel guitar fueled affair that was a welcome contrast. "Burying Davy," one of the highlights of the affair, picks up thematically where E. Watson left off, laying someone into the ground, but if anything is more satisfying. It makes me appreciate the happier sounding "Foregone" all the more between them. I4U&U4Me is a perfectly enjoyable shuffle, although it cannot compete with Burying Davy or the wonderfully laid back cover of the Grateful Dead's "Row Jimmy", which should not be missed by either Dead fans or the Decemberists. "Sonnet" ends the set up with an acoustic sweetness--with surprise horn section--that somehow manages to tie the whole project together.

This is a very satisfying set, and could easily be heard in conjunction with The King is Dead, but honestly is just wonderful on its own. It is keeping my yearning for new Decemberists satisfied. If only there were more!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This disc reminds me a bit of the "Picaresquities" e.p. It's a nice conclusion to this period of The Decemberist's career, as Colin Meloy has said they are poised to take a muti-year hiatus. Being that their sound changes from album to album I wouldn't expect this laid-back country sound to return.

"E. Watson" and "Foregone" are the highlights for me, while "Burying Davy" should have been on "TKID". If you enjoyed the previous record, you'll like this one, even if Gillian Welch isn't there to provide the amazing backing vocals.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
In May 2001, Jenny Conlee, the unbelievably talented multi-instrumentalist for The Decemberists, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although it appears the cancer is now in remission, it may be a little while before The Decemberists can head back into the studio for their follow-up to "The King is Dead," their sixth studio album which was released early this year. To keep their fans occupied, "Long Live the King" is a six track EP that features additional recordings from the sessions that produced "The King is Dead."

As is the case with many Decemberists tracks, "E. Watson," the tune that opens "Long Live the King" tells a story through song led by Colin Meloy's perfected British accent. No, Meloy is not British, but the accent has proved effective for the singing of sea shanties and folk tales over the past decade by the Portland, Oregon native. "E. Watson" tells the story of Edgar Watson, a sugar cane plantation owner in southern Florida during the early 20th century. Although the tale may not be 100 percent truth, it is a story of revenge told by those burying him face down in a grave. Following the generally upbeat nature of "The King is Dead," it's no wonder "E. Watson" never made the cut, but the acoustically driven single is reminiscent of The Decemberists' early years and will delight longtime fans.

"Foregone" follows "E. Watson" with a similar sound to much of "The King is Dead." Acoustic guitar balanced by slide guitar gives the track a country twang which is pleasant to listen to, but with very little additional instrumentation, it falls flat when compared to most of The Decemberists' material.

As "Burying Davy" brings back memories of "The Island," a highlight from their 2007 release, "The Crane Wife," it becomes clear "Long Live the King" is not meant to be thought of as a complete work of its own like their last three studio albums have been. The sessions that led to "Long Live the King" may have all been around the same time, but Meloy and company were clearly experimenting with many different ideas. The home demo version of "I 4 U & U 4 Me" leading into a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Row Jimmy" only confirms these suspicions.

"Long Live the King" is an enjoyable collection of songs for dedicated fans of The Decemberists, but anyone new to the band should direct their attention to 2009's "The Hazards of Love" before diving any further into their catalog.

Track Suggestion: "E. Watson"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I'm a 67 year old musician and cut my teeth in the folk music wave of the 60's and the transition into electric music. I call this contenporay folk music. It is the music of our time. It's great to see music evolve back to having something to SAY. I believe the Decemberists are right at the top of this new wave of musical consciousness. Wonderful blend of instruments and styles, supporting interesting vocal work and unique melodies. No song better than another. They're all great. Great Stuff. The musical prophets have been quiet for a long time. Now, open up your ears, they speaking again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
If you liked The King is Dead, or are a Decemberists fan at all, you'll enjoy this album. It's as simple as that. These are all songs that could have easily been included on the main album.
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on February 28, 2014
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
Great set of songs and interesting music. If you like folk rock, you'll love this. Super recording. Did I say great? This is one of my favorite recent music purchases. Great Great Great!
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on February 3, 2014
Format: VinylVerified Purchase
Love the Decemberists. Very melancholy but inspirational at the same time. We love music that is from the heart and this is it.
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on August 14, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
This is what music is supposed to do to you...take you on a journey. When you finish listening to something and you have chills and the only thing you can say is wow...then you know it is special! WOW
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on June 11, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I love the whole album- The King is Dead. This is just more of the same and I couldn't be happier about it! If you liked that album, you are guaranteed to love this as well.
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on February 5, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I love the band and I love their music. This album is a bit short, but if you love the Decemberists' sound, you will enjoy it.
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