Sound — 10
Their third complete album, and The Decemberists are still rocking hard. The Decemberists have compiled an album of ten songs, each with something to show. Styles found in the record range from Spanish riffs and flamenco guitar in "The Infanta," to rock n'roll in "The Sporting Life." Innovations include the addition of Petra Haden's superior violin skills, and John Moen's drumming. Tis' unfortnuate that Rachel Blumberg departed, but hey, it happens. The famed accordion still makes appearances, found in tracks such as "The Mariner's Revenge Song," and "16 Military Wives."
Lyrics — 10
Colin Meloy returns with a stunning array of lyrical genius. Also the singer, Meloy's extravagant lyrical talent is easy to spot. For example, in "The Infanta," "16 Military Wives" is a not-to-subtle knock on the war in Iraq. Colin Meloy mixes unrecognizable vocabulary one cannot help but look up in the dictionary with charming rhymes: A phalanx on camelback Thirty ranks on a forward tack Followed close, their shiny bright standards a-waving While behind in their coach, in fours Ride the wives of the king of Moors. Words like "pachyderm," "palanquin," "tamarac," and "magistrate" tickle the senses. As each song has it's own specific style, the lyrics as well have their own style. And Colin Meloy, Petra Haden, Rachel Blumberg (she is still heard in some tracks [The Mariner's Revenge Song]), John Moen, and Chris Funk all sing in the album, and all lend their own respective talents in this majestic album of beauty and cunning.
Overall Impression — 10
I myself feel that it can't compare with other artists, but albums, perhaps. Innovations are very similar (in rarity) with Jethro Tull's innovational flute. As not many, in Tull's time, considered the flute a rock instrument, neither did I consider the accordion a rock instrument. The songs enticed listeners should look into would be "The Infanta," "The Mariner's Revenge Song," "We Both Go Down Together," and "On The Bus Mall." Other songs that are charming to the ear are "The Bagman's Gambit," "The Sporting Life," and "16 Military Wives."