The Decemberists – Down By The Water

The Decemberists are a band that I’ve only recently discovered, despite their long history of making music. Today, I was looking for something new to listen to, and I happened to find their latest album, “The King Is Dead,” under the new releases section of the Zune marketplace. I decided to give it a spin and see how I liked The Decemberists. This is my verdict on their album’s first official single, “Down By The Water.”

The Good;
• This song features a really unique sound. To call it indie wouldn’t be doing it justice. I’ve heard the word “alt-country” thrown around, but even that isn’t quite accurate. This song features a mix of classic rock, blues, country, and folk, so make of that what you will.
• The Decemberists collaborated with R.E.M.’s guitarist on this track, which is apparent on the very first listen. Given R.E.M’s history of making quality rock hits, I’m going to say this is a good thing.
• The paring of an upbeat tempo with melancholy lyrics make this track refreshing for the ears.
• The harmonica is prevalent on this track, which breaths a bit of fresh air into the track.
• The vocals of Collin Maloy are smooth and easy to listen to, while still keeping a unique Americana drawl. His voice on this song is a bit like listen to an 18th century poem read very, very well. I’m not sure that makes any sense to you, but it does to me. All you have to know is that it’s a good thing.

The Bad;• It would have been nice if the song picked up at some point to really hook you in. As it is now, it starts off at one pace, and stays there the entire time. As a result, it’s very easy to tune out.

The Verdict; Good
Obviously, I can’t seem to find much bad to say about this track. It’s quite simply a solid, unique track, and I’m enjoying it very much. Its quite frankly, amazing that so much beauty can be packed into a 3 and a half minute song. I’m a believer in “high end” music and “low end” music. They both have their merits, but “Down By The Water” is definitely the high end of the high end spectrum.


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