The Decemberists
Long Live the King


3.5
great

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 29th, 2011 | 98 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A continued expedition into the folk depths and country sway of new age Americana…

Those who embraced The King is Dead for its departure from The Decemberists’ normally prog-driven sound will be given one more treat before the end of 2011. Once again delving into Americana, The Decemberists offer us the best cuts from the excluded The King Is Dead tracks along with a cover of The Grateful Dead’s ‘Row Jimmy.’ From the serene, compassionate ‘Foregone’ to the groovy ‘Sonnet’, the five piece indie band’s latest effort touches on everything that made The King is Dead such a welcome change. And although it may only qualify as a collection of B-sides, Long Live The King proves itself to be another vital release in The Decemberists’ increasingly respected catalogue.

Long Live The King is a mature, predominantly acoustic EP that continues to flush away any traces of the bloated, super pretentious side of a band that once released concept albums like Picaresque and The Hazards of Love. ‘E. Watson’ thrives on Colin Meloy’s theatrical voice, which is harmonized with contributing vocalists Laura Veirs and Annalisa Tornfelt to an acoustic guitar backdrop that pronounces the song’s fragility. ‘Foregone’ is perhaps the most relaxing song that The Decemberists have ever written, and it is much akin to ‘Rise to Me’ from The King is Dead LP. Backed by gentle, rhythmic strumming and the occasional slide guitar, ‘Foregone’ tackles country and folk simultaneously in a fashion true to The Decemberists’ sense of rebirth. The Grateful Dead cover won’t take anyone’s breath away, but it serves its purpose in providing a fresh take on a highly revered classic rock song. It has a chilled-out vibe and sounds appropriately laid back, but it fails to bring out goosebumps the way that the original still does to this day. Not everything on this EP progresses at a slow pace, however, as the regrettably titled but aptly executed ‘I 4 U & U 4 Me’ features an infectious R.E.M.-styled beat with rootsy vocal inflections. ‘Burying Davy’ is another track that packs a punch, starting with nothing but Meloy’s crooning and light guitar picking but gradually building to a crescendo of soulful electric riffs and heavier percussion. From the delicate folk compositions to the energetic alt-rock tunes, The Decemberists bring something worthwhile to the table with each and every song presented on Long Live The King.

It may not be a hint at the band’s next direction, much less a reinvention of their sound, but Long Live The King is still a thoroughly enjoyable celebration of the present. It highlights The Decemberists’ ability to fuse Americana, acoustic folk, country, and alternative rock seamlessly in a way that few other artists in their scene can. Just like they did with The King is Dead, the band appears to be putting all the pomp and frills on hold (either temporarily or permanently) in order to express themselves in the most fluid and natural sounding way possible. Thus, Long Live the King serves as a supplemental EP worthy of a glance from the casual listener, and most certainly from every fan.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 29th 2011


10614 Comments


Lovely review Steve...I can't do it, you'll always be Sowing to me.



But I've never liked anything this band has done, so this probably won't be the thing to hook me.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

mallen-
October 29th 2011


1235 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just said, "who the fuck is steve m?" to myself

anyway loved the 3 tracks I've heard from this so far and congrats on the promotion

Waior
October 29th 2011


11460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love you and all Sowing but

you just trespassed waior territory

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The EP will be released this Tuesday, but until then you can listen to official streams of every track across the web.

Foregone and E. Watson
http://www.directcurrentmusic.com/music-news-new-music/2011/10/25/the-decemberists-long-live-the-king.html

Burying Davy
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-stream-decemberists-spooky-instrumental-burying-davy-20111026?utm_source=The+Decemberists&utm_campaign=

I 4 U & U 4 Me
http://stereogum.com/859672/the-decemberists-i-4-u-u-4-me-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

Row Jimmy
http://exclaim.ca/News/decemberists_announce_long_live_king_ep

Sonnet
http://www.prefixmag.com/media/the-decemberists/sonnet/57989/

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Xeno and Mallen : )

You guys can still call me Sowing.

Your review will probably blow mine out of the water Caleb.

Waior
October 30th 2011


11460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

none of that modesty, you're the staff guy!

and you will always be sowing to sputnikmusic

also burying davy is my jam

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I may be staff but nobody uses big words in reviews like you do

And actually makes it sound nice and flow ok

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Burying Davy rules but Foregone is my favorite

someguest
October 30th 2011


20879 Comments


THIS IS WHY

THIS IS WHY

She bites.

Digging: Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


7312 Comments


Those who embraced The King is Dead for all of its deviant approaches

That turn of phrase made start grinning like a loon.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

haha glad somebody appreciated it, it was indeed intentional

cvlts
October 30th 2011


8967 Comments


who the fuck is steve?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some sell out

tiesthatbind
October 30th 2011


7377 Comments


You should change your irl name to Sowing Season

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Signs of Life

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


20857 Comments


Hmmm, SowingSeasonSteve makes staff & soon after reviews a record with a track called 'Burying Dav(e)y'. I see where this is going... Just remember that Observer fella has mysteriously disappeared!

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


31367 Comments


I knew your last name was McQueen

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2011


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, and congrats on making staff Steve : )

If I want to get into this band, which of their albums do you recommend?

Edit: just listened to those streams, this is really good!

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

Irving
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


7312 Comments


In non-Deviant related comments, I've only heard "Burying Davy" (parts of which can also be found in the deluxe editions of The King is Dead) off this record but it was ridiculously promising. I'll be checking this out for sure.

Also, I miss being able to pos your reviews Sowing...I mean Steve. Damn this name transition is actually quite awkward lol!

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2011


16452 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ties: Haha if I could keep it as SowingSeason maybe I would, but I actually am starting to come around to people knowing my "big shot staff name"

Daveyboy: If you thought that was disturbing, you should have seen it before I corrected my mistake in the review where I spelled it "Burying Davey" instead of "Burying Davy"

Deviant: Right on...

Clercqie: this EP is quite good, but if you are just beginning I'd probably recommend getting into The Decemberists with their LP The Crane Wife. It is worlds more accessible and probably their catchiest record to date.

Irving: You can always call me Sowing. You earned the right. ; ) ...... also when is your first contributor review coming out?

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2011


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the rec, Sowing. If that whole album is as catchy as "I 4 U & U 4 Me", it's gonna be great.

Also, this is pretty accessible imo though...



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