Easy Street Records

In the past two years, The Decemberists have gone from unknowns outside their native Portland to success via critical praise, impressive sales, and packed houses. This is their fullest sounding releae yet. They blaze through more instrumental variations than can be listed here for a heightened urgency and depth to the sharply written lyrical scenarios.
In the past two years, The Decemberists have gone from unknowns outside their native Portland to success via critical praise, impressive sales, and packed houses. This is their fullest sounding releae yet. They blaze through more instrumental variations than can be listed here for a heightened urgency and depth to the sharply written lyrical scenarios.
759656042529
The Decemberists - Picaresque

Details

Format: CD
Label: KRS
Catalog: 425
Rel. Date: 03/22/2005
UPC: 759656042529

Picaresque
Artist: The Decemberists
Format: CD
New: Not currently available Used: Currently Unavailable
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In the past two years, The Decemberists have gone from unknowns outside their native Portland to success via critical praise, impressive sales, and packed houses. This is their fullest sounding releae yet. They blaze through more instrumental variations than can be listed here for a heightened urgency and depth to the sharply written lyrical scenarios.

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''Picaresque'' is an album by The Decemberists released in 2005 on the Kill Rock Stars record label. It was produced by Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie.

The word "picaresque" is taken from a form of satirical prose originating in Spain, depicting realistically and often humorously the adventures of a low-born, roguish hero living by his/her wits in a corrupt society.

It includes the track "Sixteen Military Wives", the music video of which was distributed by the band via BitTorrent.

The double vinyl version was released with an EP of outtakes as a final release for Kill Rock Stars. This EP was named ''Picaresqueties''. In the UK a single vinyl version was released on Rough Trade without the ''Picaresqueties'' EP.

The ''Mad Men'' episode "Maidenform" opened with a montage set to a segment of the song "The Infanta". - Wikipedia

Colin Meloy hasn't changed much since high school. The go-to guy of the Decemberists admitted as much in his own creatively licensed take on Let It Be (part of Continuum's 33 1/3 series of mini-books on music), in which he used and abused the Replacements' magnum opus as a vessel for revealing his own awkward coming of age in Montana. On 2002's sublime Castaways and Cutouts, Meloy encapsulated teenage frustrations within far-fetched tales of pirates and gypsies, a feat repeated to equally good measure on 2003's Her Majesty the Decemberists. Even with an eye towards disposability, his least essential works-the tour-only Sings Morrissey solo EP-hammer the same point across: down with aggression, up with repression!

But as easy as it might be to place Meloy's songwriting within the bruised ego/battered heart mold, it's also a willful misinterpretation of his otherwise celebratory and triumphant intent. His most open-hearted peers-Stephin Merritt, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum and Phil Elvrum of the Microphones-still erect modest walls between themselves and the listener. Whereas Meloy genuinely believes in all of the foolish whimsy that the adult mind is hard-wired to protect against: the electrifying air of possibility that accompanies adolescence and the attendant feelings of invincibility and bravado that allow you to try, fail, try again and maybe eventually succeed.

On Picaresque, Meloy's sensibility remains tied as ever to his creative writing background and bound between the pages of The Norton Anthology of British Literature. At least he's leaped a few centuries ahead in his chosen reference points: Matthew Arnold's poetic rose "Dover Beach" gets an appropriately nerdy update on "We Both Go Down Together," while "The Bagman's Gambit" sounds positively modern as Meloy fleshes out a torrid affair between a straight-shooting government suit and a double-dealing spy. And on "The Engine Driver," he reconsiders his purpose and simply aims for transparency: "And I am a writer, a writer of fictions/ I am the heart that you call home."

Of course, overcooked theatricality remains the biggest lightning rod for criticism with the Decemberists: Meloy and his conspirators (Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Rachel Blumberg and Nate Query) each play an assigned role within the proceedings and the album cover features the quintet decked out in full Max Fischer Players regalia. Deal with it. Meloy can't fight to win against the humorless-the kind of folks who gave him wedgies in gym class-but the soft, supple charms of Picaresque should prove enrapturing to everyone else. Every spare moment finds its purpose, even the Smithsonian Folkways elephant trumpeting that leads off the opening track: we're witnessing the arrival of a gentle giant.

        
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