Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Decemberists - The King is Dead (2011)

I wasn't instantly blown away as I hoped to be, but instead The King is Dead overtook me with songs that become hard to complain about after hearing them a few times. The vast majority of the album is completely solid, and covers a wide enough variety of moods without sacrificing coherence. The single biggest flaw isn't a specific technique or style used throughout the album, but an entire song: Rox in the Box. Its elementary lyrics almost completely take the oomph out of an upbeat composition that might have competed for the album's strongest if it had vocals that didn't make it seem a little corny and overblown. Aside from that, not every song is great (actually I'd say only two aren't, not counting Rox in the Box, those being All Arise! and Dear Avery, which aren't bad by any means), but the album remains uninterrupted in delivering a consistent stream of enjoyment.

The sound is pretty well represented by the album cover. It feels like a camping trip in Washington with some old friends. You kind of have the feeling in the back of your head every now and then that you're not quite having as much fun with them as you used to, but you end up greatly enjoying the experience nonetheless. Unfortunately Rox in the Box can't be anything other than you getting molested, which you more or less succeed in repressing; it only casts the slightest damper over the remainder of your stay. Alex might have tilted the camera bit too far up to provide something that would allow your folks back home to understand the nature of the trip, but if they were there they'd find it fitting.

Hope that was eerily specific enough for you.


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