The Decemberists claimed their stake in the music industry with Antebellum Era-diction, florid musical arrangements and narratives to match.
With What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, Colin Meloy and his bandmates explore meta-perspectives (“The Singer Addresses His Audiences”, “Anti-Summersong”), dip their feet in world of power-pop (“Make You Better”) and occasionally leave behind their dedication to lyrics of old (“Easy Come, Easy Go”).
While these ventures are perhaps a bit safe, the band doesn’t leave behind the audacity found on 2011’s The King is Dead. We still get songs in odd time signatures about a man protecting a fountain from vagrants and vagabonds (“Till The Water’s All Long Gone”), Meloy still doesn’t shy away from sharing inconspicuous, off-color songs like “Philomena” about cunnilingus, and words like eidolon, prevaricate and ill-begotten still find their way to our ears.
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is certainly not the bands magnum opus, but it’s still great. It’s not too often a band is able to evolve in a way that offers both old and new fans something to hold on to.