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Long Live the King - EP

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Anything Decemberists singer Colin Meloy touches turns tragic. It’s in his delivery. Notes drop lower, and an ominous mood trickles in. These six tunes (cut during the sessions at Oregon's Pendarvis Farm for their acclaimed The King Is Dead release) further the group’s newfound roots influences. “E. Watson” plays like an ageless folk ballad, with backing vocals from Laura Veirs and Annalisa Tornfelt. “Foregone” throws on the country-rock influences, with pedal steel guitar lighting the way. “Burying Davy” builds to near progressive rock heights with guitars that replicate the '70s FM-radio experience. Even the earnest quick shuffle of the home demo for “I4U & U4ME” has a sense of hangover pervading its sense of joy, while their cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Row Jimmy” lurches with the decadent sway of early-'70s countrified Rolling Stones and “Sonnet” kicks in with a horn section. The group's firing on all cylinders here. For a collection of b-sides, this is pretty much essential listening.


Formed: 2000 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Led by Montana native Colin Meloy, the Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper-literate pop songs that draw heavily from late-'60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention and Pentangle and the early-'80s college rock grandeur of the Waterboys and R.E.M. The band's initial lineup also included drummer Ezra Holbrook, bassist Nate Query, keyboardist/accordionist Jenny Conlee, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk. Frontman Meloy had previously devoted some time to an alternative country group before...
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