What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World by The Decemberists


Originating from Portland, Oregon like another band we’ve covered, the group kicked off in 2000 after Colin Meloy met Nate Query. She would introduce them to Jenny Conlee , and the trio would meet a fan of Colin’s other work, Chris Funk. besides a rotating cast of drummers, they now perform with John Monroe. The band has put up many releases, finding critical acclaim for their first debut on Capital Records and their album The Crane Wife which featured “O Valencia” and the epic piece “Crane Wife 1,2,3”.

The band started to see more airplay after appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brian. A few albums later and the band weren’t prepared for their record, The King is Dead, hit no. 1 on the Billboard 200 as well as a Grammy for best rock song. After their surprise success, the group took a hiatus.

During this break, Colin Malloy went on several solo tours, announcing in 2013 that the band would start recording their next album. Then may of the next year they began touring again and recording in the studio. The album, What a Terrible World, would be released on January 20th, 2015. Portland would designate that day Decemberists day.

The album is a true homage to their old work. To the band, this would be their big comeback album to remind everyone who they are. It was like a new first album. The sounds change and morph through the tracks, but there’s something steady about Meloy’s voice like a tour guide leading you through a town. The rhythm is steady and calming on the album. It doesn’t detract from the story the lyrics tell, as most of their music focuses around stories and folklore. The songs are easy listening as well as calming in a way. I’ve found this music to be perfect for long drives and getting work done.
The vinyl does not disappoint either. With an etching on the back of the second disk, like the last record we reviewed, it brings the presentation to another level. Similar to the Wilco and Black Keys albums, the vinyl discs were in plastic wrappers which is a trend I hope will continue. The photo in the inside is perfect in how it introduces the audience to the band.

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