Indie rock group The Decemberists, typically known for music that could have came from clever English professors, have taken a dive into the folk-rock sound on their release “The King is Dead.”
The album came out early 2011 and went slightly under-the-radar as the year passed. I never came across to my copy of the album and for the sake of quickly filling in the holes to make my ‘Best of 2011’ lists, I revisited this. And what a quality decision it was.
“The King is Dead” is a breath of fresh air. It carries the same joy and refreshment of sticking your head out your car while driving though a valley of mountains during some form of ideal weather. This unique rush comes from something The Decemberists have never done before: invest in emotion within their songs. Most of what makes The Decemberists’ style successful is their usage of bold, complex lyrical ideas and letting it effect the individual exposed through their perspective. Not since their recent album “The Hazards of Love” did The Decemberists ever challenge their own methods of story-telling. With “The King is Dead,” there is a major change in direction, style and purpose.
The album plays as a stripped down, folksy, emotional trip. Anyone previously familiar with The Decemberists’ work will first notice how simplistic everything sounds, feels and emotes; and that’s not a bad thing in this circumstance. There is absolutely no loss in thought or care given to the music from the artists, instead, The Decemberists’ wholly invest in directly coloring in their stories with emotion they aim to convey. In almost cases, The Decemberists succeed in revealing their more sentimental and brighter side on the ten tracks featured; “Don’t Carry It All” and “Rise to Me” are stellar examples of this side and adds to some of the band’s best material.
Being that “The King is Dead” is The Decemberists last album until further notice, we can’t help but feel how much more ambition they had left to burn. Being able to change a music style so wholesomely at such a ripe age is a triumph to begin with, yet making it sound so damn fresh and blissful is another thing entirely.
This album is my dad. (8/10)