It’s been nearly two years since The Decemberists released Hazards of Love, by far the worst album of their career. It was too long by at least a third, full of proggy excursions that weren’t particularly impressive, and almost completely devoid of effective melodies. On January 11th, though, they’ll try to make up for all that, with the release of their sixth full-length, The King is Dead.
There are some pretty good reasons to think they could be on the right track here. First of all, the album only has ten songs, as opposed to the 17 that made listening to Hazards such a chore, so that’s good. It also features guest appearances by R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and renowned country singer Gillian Welch, neither of whom, presumably, would be asked to contribute to an album full of, like, sick prog-jams or whatever. There are some live recordings of new stuff floating around, and they definitely seem to be leaning back toward the acoustic, folk-inspired stuff they’ve always done so well. Color me excited. [via Paste]