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The Decemberists - Castaways And Cutouts CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.58 | 63 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars My introduction to The Decemberists was with The Crane Wife, but I'll most likely be reviewing their albums in chronological order.

The Decemberists are not traditional prog by any means. Some would probably even question if they're a prog band, and such questions would probably have been valid before the release of "The Hazards of Love", but I'll talk about that more in the respective review. The music on here is a gentle mix of folk and pop with a few progressive elements here and there. As Epignosis mentioned in his review, some prog fans may be turned off at the sound of Colin Meloy's voice, but I was infatuated with it from the beginning. It's so ethereal, gentle, and yet so dark. The lyrical content is definitely not something that would make for happy bedtime stories for little children. I would imagine that some dark 19th century literature was a big influence on some of Meloy's lyrical topics. On this album, they range from a mother who works as a prostitute to feed her children (A Cautionary Song) to a soldier writing a letter to his lover while in the midst of war (The Legionnaire's Lament). All of which are accompanied by folk-influenced music. The acoustic guitar and vocals of Meloy are the most characteristic aspects of the music and are instantly recognizable to me. There's plenty of Hammond organ and bass which are other aspects about the music that I also enjoy. The production quality is excellent. Everything is very clear and none of the instruments get pushed out of the mix.

While this is more pop-oriented material at times, it's still very good music. Not sure if there's anything progressive here though, but the music is so good that it doesn't matter too much. The band does still have some maturing to do from this release, so I'll give it 4 stars. I can recommend this to fans of folk music (Jethro Tull fans might find things to enjoy about this band) or those wanting something different from modern prog. Although better starting places may be found in "The Crane Wife" or "The Hazards of Love".

horsewithteeth11 | 4/5 |


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