Published Nov 11, 2010Last week, the Decemberists lifted the lid on The King Is Dead, their third album for Capitol Records (and sixth overall). Unlike their epic recent albums, The Crane Wife (2006) and The Hazards of Love (2009), the new LP reportedly showcases a more straightforward sound. Now, the band have shared the cover art, as well as explained more about what fans can expect from the album's ten songs.
In an interview with Spin, Meloy discussed the inspiration behind several of the tracks, which he described as "simpler" than the group's prior work. "Calamity Song," he said, was inspired by R.E.M.'s recent reissue of 1984 album Reckoning. He said, "I was listening so much to the reissue when it came out last year. And it opened up for me. I was like, 'I want to write a Reckoning song.'" He added, "I think the melody is very Stipe-ish."
Of the folk-rocking "Down By the Water," he said, "Adding a harmonica -- it has a rank-and-file, sort of '80s cow-punk thing to it. That was a nice colour to add." Meanwhile, "Dear Avery" was inspired by soldiers overseas in Iraq, while "This Is Why We Fight" takes a more general approach to political or social strife.
These songs were recorded in a barn outside of the band's hometown of Portland, OR. "It rained a lot," Meloy said. "No heat, no indoor plumbing, so if you had to go pee, you had put on your Wellies and go to a freezing outhouse. But I think that, in someway, it adds a nice vibe to the record."
See the album cover above and go here for the tracklist and more information. The album is due out on January 18.