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 Sewing Machines on WHFR, Wednesday, August 8, 9PM 

Album Review: The Decemberists - The King Is Dead


(Capitol Records)

When The Decemberists first announced The King Is Dead, they did so with a declaration of their intent to make a "simple" album. One where they "get all of the information across in three minutes." It almost sounded like the brainy band was going to try to make a pop album. Of course, The Decemberists's ideas of pop music are stuck in times long ago, completely apart of what is thought of the genre now.

The album kicks off with "Don't Carry It All," which sounds like the Portland act trying to channel Tom Petty. Country music and Americana both seem to play a big part on the record, and the heavy hand of R.E.M. also seems to make it's mark on the current direction of the band (perhaps R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck appearing on seven of the songs is part of the reason for this). Though the band may be trying to shed away their intellectual side a bit for this release, the influences offer an educational curriculum of music history that maintain the band's nerdy image.

In the end, no matter what influences they might be channeling, The Decemberists still end up just sounding like themselves. Even as they sing on simple themes of love, Colin Meloy still sounds like an egghead poet. Simple is just hard for The Decemberists. But, hey, at least they managed to keep most of the songs around the three minute mark.

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