Customer Review

141 of 157 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape a little closer to home, January 18, 2011
This review is from: The King Is Dead (MP3 Music)
It took this album to make me admit I haven't loved The Decemberists more recent work as much as I would have liked. For all the great moments on The Hazards of Love and The Crane Wife (and there are many), there were also copious amounts of convolution and sort of awkward prog rock (see: The Island/...). The result was never strong enough to rob The Decemberists of their title as my favorite band, it just left me feeling like I should still be loving them more.

One listen of The King is Dead is all it took for me to remember why I still love this band, and it took none of the effort I had to invest in their bigger albums. The Decemberists, to me, don't write pretty music or clever lyrics as much as they conjure up a portal to somewhere far more romantic and beautifully tragic. Songs like Grace Cathedral Hill or On The Bus Mall still never fail to pull me into their worlds. This time around, things are far simpler than they ever have been, but the effect is similar. There are no long songs, nothing that will require 15 minutes of focus and a dictionary to figure out, nothing set in the late 1800s, and no tragically doomed romance. The result is a beautifully coherent album that may not pull you out of reality like their past works, but it will wrap this world in a gauzy glow for the sublime 40 minutes it sticks around.

I'm once again very excited to see where they go from here, but so grateful to have this in the meantime.

4.5/5
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 18, 2011 11:41:58 AM PST
Ty Nelson says:
Are you me? I came to write a review, and my review was already written. Grace Cathedral Hill still stands as my favorite Decemberists song. And I agree that this album is not necessarily a return to form, but a recapturing of the qualities that drew me to them in the first place.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2011 12:34:32 AM PST
Evan Staley says:
Last I checked I was still me. I'm glad you agree though, as it means you're likely also having a great time with this album. And yeah, Grace Cathedral Hill basically leaves me speechless. Such an amazing song.

Posted on Jan 21, 2011 8:41:28 PM PST
Ian Dunbar says:
I haven't listened to this one yet, but if they're going away from the more prog sound I'm actually kinda sad. I've only got Crane Wife and Hazards of Love, and I really enjoy the more progressive rock sounds. That said, I'm still going to buy it, and probably enjoy it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2011 7:06:12 PM PST
Evan Staley says:
I'll be interested to see what you think, Ian. The way I see it, it's a very different sounding album, but it's still clearly a product of the same band. I'm amazed at how they can stack this up after The Hazards of Love in their discography, and have both albums come out still looking quite strong.

Posted on Feb 1, 2011 10:21:19 AM PST
D. Sloan says:
I may not need to refer to my dictionary as much on this album, but I do love the way Colin uses "panoply" like nobody else can!
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