The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (4 stars)

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

(Rough Trade)

The sixth album from The Decemberists is everything you would expect. Full of country-based stylings, the Portland five-piece present a coherent, well thought-out set of storytelling songs, with Colin Meloy’s knack for a lyrical narrative remaining intact. Featuring Americana’s go-to girl Gillian Welch and R.E.M.’S Peter Buck, this record feels deliberately uncomplicated.

Mixing upbeat, intricate opuses with stripped-down ballads and lush instrumentation, the R.E.M. influence is audible in many tracks, including single ‘Down By The Water’. Yet, from harmonica-riddled opener ‘Don’t Carry It All’ to the slide-guitar meanderings of ‘Dear Avery’, The King Is Dead (hi, Morrissey) is expertly executed, heartfelt, intimate folk.

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (Available Everywhere January 18, 2011)