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The Decemberists: Picaresque
Buy! - (Kill Rock Stars)
This Portland band’s third full-length album is their most fully realized work yet. Bandleader Colin Meloy is known for his hyper-literate lyrics revolving around a cast of archetypal characters, and this album’s no exception: a child monarch, male prostitutes, romantic spies, a boy ghost, a vengeful mariner, a couple committing suicide, a young athlete facing humiliation during a sporting event and many more distinctive types make an appearance here. As usual, Meloy’s lyrics are complemented by the band’s equally colorful chamber-pop sound, but the band’s increasing confidence and the abundance of songwriting gems found here make this album something truly special. 3/8/2005 - Don Yates
Other Decemberists album reviews:

What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World - 1/9/2015
The King is Dead - 1/7/2011
Her Majesty - 9/15/2003