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The Decemberists - The King Is Dead CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

2.92 | 85 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
2 stars Don't carry it (along)?

The Decemberists, recent lovechild of ProgArchives with their highly praised prog folk classic The Hazards of Love, seems to have abandoned any sense of progressive rock. With their last effort, the band showed an incredible progression towards a tasty fusion of progressive folk and progressive rock. On their most recent album, The King is Dead, they seem to have abandoned this sound for a much more traditional folk rock sound. Although this is not "bad" per se, it really isn't good either. Consistent with pleasant folk melodies and nice folk guitar riffs and simple rhythmic backings, the album is definitely a good folk album, but nothing in the terms of the progressiveness I am looking for in a good Decemberists album. In short, this album is a pretty big disappointment. I got this album expecting a tasty blend of the stuff the band had been putting out for the past five or so years, but rather got a stripped and marginalized folk album.

I have never been a huge fan of folk rock, even in the progressive sense. The music, to me, is too light and flowery and usually doesn't contain the density that I look for in a good album. This album certainly fills my definition perfectly. Each track is much more designed for pop radio than a prog rocker's collection, with many more steady Americana folk riffs and love-inspired lyrics (and not the creative type, as seen on the band's last album) than their previous material. With a heavy country influence, it deters me even more, and overall I am not all that attracted to this release. In the end, this would pass as an exceptional folk/country album, but not as a prog album, in my book.

Overall, the abandonment of The Decemberists' old style is really a downer for prog fans like me. On tracks is rolls along like a river, with heavily folk and Americana inspired riffing and country-esque string and accordion work, but in the end I see this album as a pretty big fluke on the part on the band. Of course commercially the United States disagrees with me, for this album peaked at #1 on the Billboard, making this album the band's most successful (commercially) album yet. In my opinion, however, this album is easily one of the worse albums they have put out thus far. Hopefully the band hasn't sold out permanently. 2 stars.

Andy Webb | 2/5 |


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