Following several concept albums steeped in a wealth of ambitiousness, the Decemberists bring it all back home on their enchanting sixth record. Brimming with direct folk-rock and earnest melodies, The King Is Dead is a primarily acoustic set of 10 concise, Americana-based tracks that marks a deliberate turn towards simplicity after the Decemberists wildly ambitious and acclaimed 2009 song-cycle The Hazards Of Love.
Produced once again by Tucker Martine, The King Is Dead features special guest appearances by Americana luminary Gillian Welch and legendary R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. The King Is Dead showcases the ways in which The Decemberists (Colin Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query, and John Moen) sound just as glorious playing stripped-down compositions as they do on the elaborate structures that have defined their previous work.
Organic and rootsy, the album was recorded in a converted barn at Pendarvis Farm, an 80-acre estate of lush meadows, forest, and Mt. Hood views outside of Portland. As such, the concept of the barn, as recording space and as attitude, informed the making of the album. Filled with acoustic guitars, fiddles, violins, harmonicas, and bustling percussion, The King Is Dead shines.
"From the fiddle-driven hootenanny evoked on “All Arise!” to the peddle-steel melancholy of “Dear Avery,” the Decemberists sound relaxed but not slack. The melodies unfold gracefully, and the songs rarely overstay their welcome, most checking in under four minutes. In the company of harmonica, accordion, peddle steel and acoustic guitars, Meloy dials down the elaborate wordplay in favor of more straightforward lyrics about the fragile negotiation between “progress” and nature."
--Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2011
The Decemberists The King Is Dead Track Listing:
1. Don’t Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise to Me
4. Rox in the Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down by the Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery