Not that you care, of course, because, ugh, you hate everything about NPR and NPR-approved indie-rock because, ugh, NPR and NPR-approved indie rock and also white people are, like, totally the worst, but the new Decemberists record, The King is Dead, is currently streaming over at the NPR website.
The record, The Decemberists’ fifth and the follow-up to 2009’s vastly disappointing prog-rock concept album The Hazards of Love, is out on January 18th, and it marks a substantial shift in style, away from the more theatrical material they’ve focused on of late, and back to a relatively bare-boned folk sound, inspired in equal parts by traditional American folk and the British folk that’s always played such a big role in defining the band’s sound.
I’ll have much more to say about it when it comes out in a couple weeks, but I’ve enjoyed my time with it so far. The first song in particular, “Don’t Carry It All,” finds them in a sweet spot, with a ringing harmonica, loud, floppy acoustic guitar, commanding drums and a supremely likable, refreshingly direct and rousing vocal performance. I’ve not yet decided if I like it enough to warrant the $165 price tag of this extremely limited deluxe edition of the album, which includes a polaroid, taken by Autumn de Wilde, during the recording sessions for the album. I’m considering it, though.