By Cory Smit
I went at The Decemberists – The King Is Dead with a fresh wick. I had little idea what to expect of the album. What I got out of it was something between that happy glow that hits you when the golden embrace of sunrise on a long journey and a strong desire to sing along from a small boat whilst maintaining very little tune in my voice and not caring.
The Decemberists – Colin Melroy (writer), Nate Query, Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk – is an American folk-pop-indie band formed in 2000 with sound that seems me to be heavily influenced by R.E.M, Bob Dylan and even to some degree slower Green Day tracks. The sound seems to be made up of a strong combination of instruments that could be found in a regular country ensemble like a harmonica, guitar, violin (of some variety), accordion and tambourine but its fueled in the most part by the vocals.
Tracks on the album come in various tempos like fast, slow and slot yourself behind the barn with a matching range in the vocals to match. The lead singer has the ability to adapt and emulate multiple influences. My pickings from the compilation would have to be Don’t Carry It All, Rox in the box and June Hymn.
–Don’t Carry It All from the first chord emits well defined Bob Dylan influences. The voice and harmonica develop the rapturous feelings that I get my soul dancing.
–Rox in the box has a heavy country-come-American Indian tribal vibe but with a rhythm that I could get my crocodile-skins swinging across the dance floor to. This track is a great driving anthem. Sitting at the robots during rush hour would be less deathly with this filling your ears. I can imagine myself tapping at the steering wheel, volume on full blast, whilst singing along like a drowning duck.
-The only way that I can describe June Hymn is like falling in love for the summer. The pretty melody really captures my curiosity. I found myself thinking “what’s next?” It makes me yearn to be a blissful 17 year old during the summer holidays waiting for that girl who said that she’d be back in a few months, then seeing her and dissolving into nothing more than the wit of a Labrador puppy.
If you’re looking for something to play on a hot day with your mates on the verandah this album really would help the mood along, but in the same breath my mum would like it too.