Album Reviews: Picaresque by The DecemberistsYou’re going to love it or you’re going to hate it. You either hung out with this guy in school or you made fun of him. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m a reformed Decemberists basher myself. The wee band from Portland is easy to pick on, to be sure. But if you give their tender melodies and ornate lyrical tales a chance, you’ll find the inner truths and beauty. Maybe it took reading Colin Melloy’s (lead singer/songwriter) book on a seminal album by The Replacements (Let it Be), to feel like I could relate to him. But I’m hooked on their feeling now.
Bittersweet bouncing fun abounds on "The Sporting Life" and "We Both Go Down Together." Start with these two accessible tracks if you are still wary of The Decemberists. But don’t stop there, matey. Hop on board for this journey into the belly of a whale. Part history text, part folk pop art, Picaresque is mostly all good. It evokes images of your high school production of the HMS Pinafore. You’ll play Ahab and Jonah and the last kid picked for the team.
When everything starts to sound the same, give this disc a spin. It’s certainly different. - Jeff Kamin
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