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The Decemberists: The King is Dead
Buy! - (Capitol)
This Portland band’s sixth album is a dramatic about-face from their previous release (2009’s prog-influenced rock opera The Hazards of Love). It’s a straight-up, warmly melodic roots-pop record steeped in R.E.M., Byrdsian country-rock and traditional folk. And while it could be considered one of their least ambitious albums, it’s also stunningly good, with one memorable song after another combining rich acoustic-oriented instrumentation with Colin Meloy’s literate songwriting and plaintive vocals, along with soul-searing harmonies from Gillian Welch on 7 of the album’s 10 songs. 1/7/2011 - Don Yates
Other Decemberists album reviews:

Picaresque - 3/8/2005
Her Majesty - 9/15/2003