The Decemberists
The King Is Dead


2.0
poor

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
January 5th, 2011 | 226 replies | 28,078 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's not just the king that's lifeless

The Decemberists' last album The Hazards of Love was just another step down the path that the band had seemingly been walking down since their inception. Sure, for those not paying attention the hints of Black Sabbath influence was a bit alarming, but for those of us that remember their The Tain EP it was not only familiar, but encouraging. Sure, Colin Meloy and his compatriots have always been a folk band at heart, but it was their never being afraid to experiment and grow, be it the aforementioned classic metal intensity or the proggish grandiosity of The Crane Wife, that drove the band from bookish Neutral Milk Hotel clones to being one of the premier indie acts of the last decade.

Unfortunately, with The Decemberists' latest release, The King Is Dead, the band are content with resting on their laurels. The end result is a tepid, lifeless album devoid of everything that we've come to expect from them in this part of their career, leaving only the most traditional aspects of their sound intact. That's not to say that idea itself of going back to basics was The King is Dead's downfall, but it certainly didn't help, for without anything to hide behind it becomes painfully apparent that Meloy's concept is uninteresting and bland, making the album a chore to get through if you are following closely and nothing more than background music if you aren't. Even guest spots by famed REM guitarist Peter Buck and the return of vocalist Gillian Welch in “Down By The Water” do little if anything at all to elevate the album beyond a jangly waste of forty minutes. It's truly a shame, because deep down this could have been a great album, but by introducing self-imposed austerity measures to their music The King Is Dead is painfully homogeneous and bland.

Hopefully this is just a bump in the road in The Decemberists' career, but for the time being it really makes me wonder if behind the lofty sheen, high concepts, and dense sounds of past Decemberists albums has Colin Meloy always been this empty? It's an uncomfortable thought to say the least, but if the Decemberists continue like this it won't just be the king that will be dead.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
January 5th 2011



5784 Comments


haha

eat that knott

loveisamixtape
January 5th 2011



5903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i disagree, but good review.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2011



7018 Comments


album is shit
will read review now

Digging: Braid - No Coast

robin
Emeritus
January 5th 2011



4241 Comments


agree with you as per

Gyromania
January 5th 2011



15164 Comments


album is shit
review is good.

loveisamixtape
January 5th 2011



5903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i guess the only reason i can assume i like this and a lot of other people hate it is because i've never listened to this band's prior works. this seems pretty fun and easy going to me and that's why i like it.

WatchItExplode
January 5th 2011



3197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neutral Milk Hotel clones what?

but yeah, nothing to see here move along

Drsmith4
January 5th 2011



1710 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, but I couldn't disagree more.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2011



17195 Comments


well loveisamixtape may i suggest you take a look at the recommended by review section for some context?

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2011



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I agree with pretty much all of your points, though to a much lesser extent. My current rating is kind though.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
January 5th 2011



8736 Comments


really dug the hazards of love so I won't bother with this

Digging: Mournful Congregation - Concrescence of the Sophia

sniper
January 5th 2011



18929 Comments


Nice review, never got into this band. I probably never will.

Digging: Towers - Bel Air Highrise Plantation

omnipanzer
January 5th 2011



21418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Neutral Milk Hotel clones?
I hate NMH
Good review but I don't agree with a single word of it sir

Abandon hope all ye who enter here!

Digging: Grant Lee Buffalo - Fuzzy

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 5th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

they're not, and never have been, clones of Neutral Milk Hotel why do people keep saying that it's a really dumb thing to say.

omnipanzer
January 5th 2011



21418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This review should get pulled for trolling :^P

LiquidSwords
January 5th 2011



6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"introducing self-imposed austerity measures to their music" - What the hell does that mean?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2011



17195 Comments


agreed. fuck opnions! homogeneity forever!

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2011



10240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i don't get the NMH comparison either

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 5th 2011



17195 Comments


their old shit sounds so much like NMH but without the whole i want to go back in time and bang a dead jewish girl vibe

omnipanzer
January 5th 2011



21418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Redsky for leader of the "True Homogenization of Sputnik Party"



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