The Decemberists do not disappoint with ‘The King is Dead’

Nikki Erinakis

With the recent release of their country-inspired album, “The King is Dead” the Decemberists have created a great sound that brings back a style of music that has been long dormant.

This quirky Portland group brought back the charm that was found in the ‘60s and ‘70s by making a full-length album of folk country tunes. You will hear instruments featured in the album such as harmonicas and tambourines that create a soulful sound, different from their earlier work. One listen to their album, and you’ll find yourself dusting off your old Bob Dylan and Lou Reed albums to hear more of that sound.

Their new musical approach will not disappoint fans of their previous album, “The Hazards of Love.” They didn’t lose their identity and steer off the path of great music into a vat of commercial appeal. You will still be able to identify the group as artists behind their new album. Since this music seems to be more familiar and relatable, “The King is Dead” will be able to generate a larger audience than their past work.

However, the only problem is this country style leads to an experimental sound for the Decemberists. It seems they tried too hard to generalize their new album with a country feel, instead of reminding their audience that this is not what they are all about. This indie group can do so much more.

There is also a bit of a difference in their lyrics than what fans may be accustomed to. Their lyrics seem to construct a more poignant theme. The Decemberists’ frontman Colin Meloy approaches this as a classic folk artist with soulful verses and opted to leave playful tunes out of this album. Meloy is also a good fit for the role of a folk/country artist with his distinctive voice that brings character to the group.

It is worth it to give them a listen on NPR for free. Earlier decades of music has brought forth some soulful tunes that really helped expand the power of music. In light of that, it’s not a bad way for this group to go.