The Decemberists – Long Live the King EP

by Ryan Kehr (English), published November 10th 2011

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

There I was, browsing the new release charts, curious to see if anything might peak my interest, when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a new Decemberists EP?! What lovely news! I then dove into the world wide web to see what info I could scrounge up. As it turns out this new release, Long Live the King, was indeed a reality.

Long Live the King includes tracks recorded throughout the same sessions as the bands previous album, The King is Dead. It acts as something of a B-Side to that album and is comprised of six songs that couldn’t quite make it to the full-length record. However, after listening to Long Live the King a couple of times, it unfortunately becomes apparent why they were left out.

I couldn’t help but feel the tracks didn’t bring anything new to the table.  Each tune meanders along with the same easy-going country feel and lacks the clever lyrics and intriguing stories the band is famous for. While not bad per se, the EP doesn’t go anywhere the Decemberists haven’t been before…with one exception: a cover of the classic “Row Jimmy” by The Grateful Dead. If you’re a fan of both bands like I am, then this is a must-have track. It shows that The Decemberists still know how to jam and make music while not taking themselves too seriously.

Each studio release has felt like an entirely new direction for this dynamic band and the release of The King is Dead earlier this year was no exception. Taking a radical departure from their previous record The Hazards of Love (which was nothing less than an epic fantasy rock opera), the LP showed us a laid-back, rustic, and dare I say it cozy side of the band. While it is nice to see this EP continue this trend, one album was enough for me and I’m ready for the Decemberists’ new direction.

Recommended Tracks: Row Jimmy, Burying Davy, Sonnet

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