The King Is Dead

( 8 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
The Decemberists' sixth, full-length studio outing finds the Portland, Oregon-based indie rock collective exploring a region that has thus far eluded them. Raised on a steady diet of Morrissey, Robyn Hitchcock, Shirley Collins, and Fairport Convention, The King Is Dead represents frontman Colin Meloy's first foray into the musical traditions of his homeland, or more specifically, it proves that he really, really likes R.E.M. "Calamity Song," which is one of three tracks to feature guitar work from Peter Buck, threatens to break into "Pretty Persuasion" or "So. Central Rain I'm Sorry" at any moment, and first single "Down by the Water" flirts with "The One I ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
The Decemberists' sixth, full-length studio outing finds the Portland, Oregon-based indie rock collective exploring a region that has thus far eluded them. Raised on a steady diet of Morrissey, Robyn Hitchcock, Shirley Collins, and Fairport Convention, The King Is Dead represents frontman Colin Meloy's first foray into the musical traditions of his homeland, or more specifically, it proves that he really, really likes R.E.M. "Calamity Song," which is one of three tracks to feature guitar work from Peter Buck, threatens to break into "Pretty Persuasion" or "So. Central Rain I'm Sorry" at any moment, and first single "Down by the Water" flirts with "The One I Love" hard enough to take it on a long weekend, though Meloy has stated that the track "started out as more of a paean to R.E.M. than I think any of us really wanted it to." David Rawlings and Gillian Welch also join the party on a number of tracks, lending their instantly recognizable voices to two of the album's finest moments, the Wildflowers-era, Tom Petty-inspired "Don't Carry It All," and the lovely, Paul Simon-esque "June Hymn" -- Meloy and Welch, the former a Montana-born Anglophile and the latter a California girl with a fetish for dustbowl Appalachia -- harmonize nicely, canceling out each other's vocal affectations. It's a refreshing change from the usual compilation of bibliophile, sea shanty/murder ballad, and while the Led Zeppelin III-style rural overhauling may isolate fans who prefer the serpentine, progressive, art rock of albums like The Crane Wife and Hazards of Love, it opens up a whole new continent for the band to explore.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/18/2011
  • Label: Capitol
  • EAN: 5099994754728
  • Catalog Number: 47547
  • Sales rank: 11,344

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Don't Carry It All (4:17)
  2. 2 Calamity Song (3:49)
  3. 3 Rise to Me (4:59)
  4. 4 Rox in the Box (3:09)
  5. 5 January Hymn (3:13)
  6. 6 Down by the Water (3:41)
  7. 7 All Arise! (3:09)
  8. 8 June Hymn (3:57)
  9. 9 This is Why We Fight (5:30)
  10. 10 Dear Avery (4:51)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Decemberists Primary Artist
Peter Buck Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Guitar (12 String Electric), Guitar (Baritone), Guest Appearance
John Moen Drums, Tambourine, Background Vocals, Shaker
Gillian Welch Background Vocals, Guest Appearance
David Rawlings Background Vocals
Tucker Martine Tambourine
Nate Query Bass, Cello
Laura Veirs Background Vocals
Chris Funk Banjo, Bouzouki, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar
Colin Meloy Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Vocals, Pump Organ, Guitar (12 String Electric), Guitar (Tenor), Guitar (12 String Acoustic), Guitar (Baritone)
Jenny Conlee Organ, Piano, Accordion
Annalisa Tornfelt Fiddle, Violin
Chris Meloy Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Technical Credits
Stephen Marcussen Mastering
Tucker Martine Producer, Engineer
The Decemberists Producer
Colin Meloy Composer
Carson Ellis Illustrations
Andy Schichter Intern
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2012

    Strongly Recommended

    The Decemberists' prior output has a reputation of being dense, artsy, dramatic and not particularly accessible. With this release, the group turns that reputation on its head. Sounding musically like a cross between Neil Young and R.E.M., this album boasts tight, efficient playing and outstanding melodic content with a slight country tinge. The vocals are fairly standard alt-rock, but with an interesting twist - Colin Meloy sings loudly and confidently, an approach that works perfectly with the material.

    Rootsy American acoustic music played with an alt-rock perspective - it's hard to beat that combination in my book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    GREAT CD!

    This album was everything I had hoped it would be. It just keeps getting better each time I listen to it too!

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Seasons of Folk

    Some albums are perfect for certain seasons. Wilco's Summerteeth, for example, is a great record to listen to just as spring has begun to sprung. Tears for Fear's Seeds of Love somehow sets just the right tone for a cool, crisp Fall day. And when it comes to Summer, well.....there are just way too many LP's to mention. Of course alot of this has to do with the season in which the album was released, but somehow I can't imagine spinning Alice Cooper's School's Out (a perfect Summertime listen) in early October. Full of great folk country roots songs The King Is Dead , the sixth album from Portland Oregon indie folk rock band The Decemberists, joins the club of being a near perfect seasonal record. File this one under great Winter/January records.....the time when winter has just begun and one yearns for the unfolding of the mysteries that Spring and Summer will soon reveal. 'Don't Carry It All' sets the tone and theme for the whole record, It opens the album with these words: "Here we come to a turning of the season." There are actually references everywhere on this record to every season during the calandar year. 'Don't Carry It All' could stand alone as a great harvest hymn for late autumn. With its great strumming guitars and mandolin and lyrics declaring that we are all in this together, the song paints a great communal picture. 'Calamity Song' builds on this idea of community with references to building a pastoral society after the "end times." The highlight is 'Rise To Me', an absolutely beautiful country folk song masterpiece that continues the themes of nature and the progression of seasons/experience. Here the harmonies soar, the steel guitar weeps, and the harmonica (like the wind) blows perfectly in just the right places. A wonderfully moving piece of music. Both 'January Hymn' and 'June Hymn' are classics of traditional-like folk ballads. While "January Hymn' displays the extremes of cold winter inactivity ("On a winter Sunday I go/To clear away the snow/And green the ground below"), 'June Hymn' goes on to vivdly describes the LIVE imagery of Summer: "And once upon it/The yellow bonnets/Garland all the line/And you were waking/And day was breaking/A panoply of song/And summer comes to Springville Hill." The King Is Dead is a moving listen and indie folk rock at its best. A great Record.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

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    Posted November 4, 2011

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    Posted February 19, 2011

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    Posted January 24, 2011

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    Posted January 29, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews