Album Review: The Decemberists – The King Is Dead (Rough Trade)

Turgid Americana pastiche

Even when Oregon’s [a]The Decemberists[/a] debuted with ‘Castaways And Cutouts’ in 2002, they were still more Neutral Milk Bail Hostel than Hotel. They transposed wordy Victorian melodrama onto folky sea shanties. But at least once they had a snappy poetic sensibility and an admirable interest in history. Unfortunately, now they are pure turgid Americana pastiche. ‘This Is Why We Fight’ is basically [a]Green Day[/a]’s ‘Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)’ covered by [a]Mumford and Sons[/a] trying to be [a]REM[/a]. Trouble is, thousands of people will probably think this pig ugly and cynical exercise in cuntery and western is awesome, so well done, [a]The Decemberists[/a].

John Doran

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