The Decemberists are an indie-rock band with a unique and avant garde set of sounds that can only be matched in eccentrism by their home city of Portland, Oregon. Lead singer and principal songwriter Colin Meloy (Formerly of Happy Cactus and Tarkio) doubles as an accomplished author, responsible for the Wildwood trilogy of youth novels. Meloy’s literary prowess and vast arsenal of esoteric diction gives the Decemberists’ lyrics an unmistakable poetic atmosphere that will leave the listener craving for another glimpse into the worlds of their crooked cast of characters.
These vivid lyrics are synergized with complex instrumentals that characterize each song. “Culling of the Fold” from their 2006 album The Crane Wife features panicked, dissonant piano chords and ominous violin to bring Meloy’s violent and murderous lyrics to life. “The Sporting Life” from the 2005 album Picaresque keeps things lighthearted with an upbeat head-nodding drum and bass rhythm coupled with humorous lyrics to create a nostalgic high school sporting scene.
The Decemberists’ latest full album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World was released in 2015, including 14 tracks displaying the same bona fide musical talent that has been exhibited since the Decemberists debuted with their first EP in 2001. The Decemberists also released a deluxe 10 year anniversary rendition of The Crane Wife, including the original album across two LPs in addition to three additional records including b-sides, bonus tracks, acoustic demos, and more.
The Decemberists brought an undeniable breath of fresh air to the indie-rock scene, and fans eagerly await another release from this peculiar group of musicians in 2017.