Review: 'What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World' - The Decemberists

2015 review #2: The Decemberists...

Title: What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World         Label: Rough Trade          
Artist: The Decemberists                               Release Date: 16th January 2015
Tracks:14                                        Running Time: 53:24 minutes

Following a three-year hiatus, The Decemberists had plenty of time to think about how to approach their seventh studio album and follow-up to U.S. #1 smash The King is Dead. Turns out they settled on an emotion-pumped hook-heavy folk-rock record tailored perfectly for the inevitable main-stage performances come festival time. Expect ‘The Singer Addresses His Audience’, a Stop Making Sense-style slow-burner that one-by-one reintroduces each member of the band back to their beloved audience. Interspersed with the odd heart-on-sleever (‘Till The Water Is All Long Gone’, ‘Lake Song’) and sea shanty (‘Better Not Wake The Baby’), What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World is an enjoyable excursion from start-to-finish, never really hitting any spectacular highs but never dropping below a 6/10 on any track either. The Decemberists are a band who figured out who they are quite a long time ago and continue to excite and enthrall within those parameters.
Stand-out track: The big heart, big "ooo"s and big choir chorus of 'Mistral'. To my utter delight the line "So lay me down on the cobblestones" blared on my headphones as I simultaneously walked into The Cobblestone pub in Smithfield. This event was shared with everyone within shouting distance that fine Friday evening.

For more on The Decemberists visit:

- What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World is out 16th January on Rough Trade
- The Decemberists play Vicar Street, Dublin on 11th February

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