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Kill Rock Stars

When the Decemberists first exploded onto the indie music scene a few years ago, they instantly won our hearts with their charming anachronistic tendencies. Stage Two: a little more ballad-y, but still every bit as endearingly antiquated. Now, with their third full-length, Picaresque, they seem to be finally entering our century. Don't get me wrong: the lyrics still maintain the feel of fantastically handcrafted antiques as they always have (with the exception of "16 Military Wives", a political song about as grounded in the here-and-now as we've ever heard from these guys), and Colin Meloy's vocals are still as whimsical as always. But somewhere along the way, somebody introduced these kids to rock music. Case in point: "The Sporting Life" sounds like the long-lost cousin of Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life", not to mention the galloping urgency of opening track, "The Infanta". The interesting thing about this new development is that it somehow leaves the impression that they have dramatically evolved while in fact having changed nothing whatsoever. Is this moving forward, or standing still in a new pose? Either way, they have not lost their knack for writing music that feels both completely organic and yet exquisitely, meticulously contrived.

-Emily Strong

Track listing:
1. The Infanta
2. We Both o Down Together
3. Eli, The Barrow Boy
4. The Sporting Life
5. The Bagman's Gambit
6. From My Own True Love (Lost At Sea)
7. 16 Military Wives
8. The Engine Driver
9. On the Bus Mall
10. The Mariner's Revenge Song
11. Of Angels and Angles

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