If one were to only read the words written about five-piece Portland ensemble The Decemberists, you might come away thinking the band is a bunch of pretentious English Lit majors who prance around to harpsichords and chamber music, dress like extras from The Remains of the Day and act out dramatic scenes based on their complicatedly titled songs based on obscure folk tales and great works of literature.
While that’s not totally untrue, The Decemberists’ music is multi-dimensional and runs the gamut from British Folk to Indie Pop to the Country Rock of the band’s latest full-length, The King Is Dead. The album is more straightforward and direct, a bit of relief from singer/songwriter Colin Meloy’s usual song cycles, suites and multifaceted concepts, and a break from the group’s prevalent inspiration from British sources. Critics have noted The King Is Dead — which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts — also shows The Decemberists are huge R.E.M. fans (guitarist Peter Buck plays on three tracks), not surprising considering that seminal band’s early reputation as the kings of “College Rock.”
The band — which just released a career-spanning iTunes Session EP — plays PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Thursday with Seattle Folk Pop group The Head and the Heart opening. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Read Amy Harris' interview with bassist Nate Query here.
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