Time for an admission: I’ve only really listened to The Hazards of Love (the previous Decemberists record) once. By that I mean once through, which is ultimately the only correct way to hear the sprawling rock opera. But it’s exhausting. The songs are dense, the storyline overwhelming, and the music not immediately welcoming. I was disappointed, especially considering the high praise I’ve had for the band in the past.
But that all changes with The King is Dead. Suddenly the Decemberists are accessible again, and it’s thanks to a real change in musical attitude.
Full review after the break: