The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
The Decemberists: What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World (Rough Trade)
The Portland band have enjoyed an intriguing career largely under the radar. It’s no surprise that some have compared their folk-inflected rock to early REM: certainly Colin Meloy’s idiosyncratic brand of songwriting is, at least in part, indebted to Michael Stipe.
This seventh album finds them in ruddy good health as they tackle rousing torch songs, plaintive ballads and smart indie-pop. It would take an especially joyless person not to take pleasure in straight-up pop of ‘Philomena’ or the hushed ’12-17-12’, while a standout ‘Cavalry Captain’ should be on everyone’s iPod.
Key tracks: ‘Cavalry Captain’; ‘Philomena’