Listen to The Decemberists’ New Album “The King is Dead” at NPR

I like what I’m hearing from a first listen.  The band has really reigned it in on this one, for the better.  It’s almost like the band took a collective deep breath.

On The King Is Dead, Meloy prepares listeners for change in his opening line: “Here we come to a turning of the season.” It not only signals different lyrical themes, but also provides an introduction to a new musical lightness for The Decemberists.

The new record opts to tame the band’s indulgences, and also reroutes its musical focus: Instead of pointing solely to the British folk that has long inspired him, Meloy digs deep into the American roots-music lexicon, even merging the two in the sea shanty/mining tune “Rox in the Box.”

You can listen to the album, in its entirety, until its release on Jan. 18.

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