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The Decemberists - Picaresque CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.60 | 78 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Now THIS is much more like it. The Decemberists really throw you into this album with the powerful opener "The Infanta" and makes me think of their debut. Although the most noticeable difference is how the songwriting is much more mature. The album does have some pop influences, but the hard rock and folk are much more prominent. Meloy's really begun to realize his potential by shifting from writing folksy-pop songs to timeless, memorable ballads. I also enjoy how much of a punch this album brings in comparison to the second release by the band, and come to think of it, it's even stronger here than on their debut too. Some may still claim that The Decemberists don't show any traits of progressive rock, but I believe that they really started to appear on this album, not The Crane Wife. And when they appear, they're in spades. The most notable example of this is in "The Mariner's Revenge Song", a song about the depressing (what else do The Decemberists talk about so well anyway?) tale of some person who were shipwrecked at sea in a violent storm before being swallowed whole by a whale, and to make matters worse, an enemy of his also was swallowed up by the whale. This is a multi-part suite that twists and turns through several different moods and makes me wonder how this song clocks in at a mere 8:45. The production issue from Her Majesty, in which I felt that the instruments were slightly shoved into the background, has been righted on this release.

Some people may say that The Decemberists have only become a prog band with The Hazards of Love, or even not at all. I would heartily disagree with both statements. They may not be "prog" in the traditional sense, but they're certainly a "progressive" band, at least in terms of their approach to music. And sometimes, that's enough to qualify as band as being "prog". And even if they aren't prog, this is still very wonderful music. 4 stars, although for me this is really more like 4.5.

horsewithteeth11 | 4/5 |


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