The Decemberists aren’t new to music, they’ve been around for 14 years. Their new record, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, their seventh studio album, follows the release of two critically acclaimed albums, Picaresque and The Crane Wife, as well as a Grammy nominee in 2011, for best rock song of the year. Having not released music since then, it was just assumed that they had been planning something huge.
With What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, lead singer and songwriter, Colin Meloy, displays what I believe to be their best record yet. Now at 40 years old, The Decemberists add to the line of popular musicians approaching their 40’s, like The National, Weezer, and Run The Jewels, and showing them that just because you’re getting older, doesn’t mean you can’t rock out like you used to. This new record is their hardest hitting one yet, in which The Decemberists seem to channel The Shins, Modest Mouse, Blind Pilot, Death Cab for Cutie, and add the rhythm and build-up of Arcade Fire, really bringing out the influences and craft of Colin Meloy’s songwriting and storytelling.
The album opens up with, “The Singer Addresses His Audience,” a track which encompasses the band announcing to their fans that they’re so thankful for their support over all of the years. and now they’re going to really deliver their best work yet by changing into a full-out indie rock band, and promising that they do it all for us and the love of their music. And the message is especially clear once track 2, “Calvary Captain,” kicks in with a drum fill and a chorus of horns, and you’re like, “Fuck Yeah! The new Decemberists are awesome!.” Not to mention the superb recording, mixing, and production, this record feels like it was meant to be screamed back at the band at a giant festival, with so much energy and life in the arrangements. Even though it’s early in the year, I wouldn’t be surprised to find this on year end lists come December, and big time Decemberists fans are gonna have a field day with this one.