by Kyle Taylor |
In an era when even the most abstract musical genres are subject to infiltration from the pop markets, The Decemberists continue to boast a rich, original sound that maintains loyalties to its roots, while also avoiding pitfalls into overwhelmingly obvious harmonies and melodies. The Portland, Oregon based group exudes a thickly folk inspired sound, drowning in a plethora of instruments ranging from harmonica to fiddle.
The seventh album in The Decemberists long-standing career, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World plays off the band’s already well-established sound. The album carries itself through a variety of moods, emotions, and subject matter, traversing sorrowful moments, points of exuberance, and times of contemplation.
As usual, The Decemberists act as band’s tend to best: as a unit. None of the group’s members stray into the spotlight for too long; instead, all working together to develop carefully working new harmonies. The imposition of a large arsenal of instruments creates an encompassing musical experiences. The compositions carry from more traditional approaches at points, to rather experimental moments at times. While many of the album revolve around plays on baroque-inspired composition methods, the album still settles into plenty of experimental moments. That tone is set right from the album’s opening track, “The Singer Addresses His Audience”, which carries itself through a disgruntled guitar line muddled in reverb.
The record works undeniably well as a cohesive piece, developing its mood throughout to embrace the listener in the progressing story.