Spun: The Decemberists

By Garth Paulson

“Long live the king!”- this traditional exclamation may pronounce a new era of independent music to come as The Decemberists explore new sonic territory.

After six weeks of recording at the Pendarvis Farm near Portland, Oregon, The Decemberists completed work on their sixth album, January 2011’s The King is Dead, as well as the more recent EP Long Live the King.

Each album is a beautifully-crafted addition to the band’s extensive musical repertoire. Loyal subjects of the band will find echoes of the engaging storylines and complex lyricism of earlier albums on Long Live the King, but this is no rock opera, nor are there any 12-minute ballads.

While the band’s past releases were inspired by the British folk revival, these records are a salute to Americana. Influenced by the sound of early R.E.M., the album is folk, rock and country with Celtic influences. Here The Decemberists introduce rich tones, lyrical sincerity and ambient layering to create the perfect emotional atmosphere.

Even though Long Live the King exhibits fewer upbeat ballads than The King is Dead, it’s unlikely that The Decemberists’s loyal subjects will be going anywhere.

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