Firstly, I thought I'd take this opportunity to clear a couple of things up about the Decemberists!
I noticed that he has been critised a number of times in these reviews for his vocal style. Some claiming that it is too close to Neutral Milk Hotel, and some even claiming he is attempting to put on an English accent.
The reason for his apparently unusual style is, he's Australian!
(As am I!)
Hopefully if people read this, it will help dispell some of negative opinions and remarks that have seemingly tainted the music this band makes. Although they record and tour in the US, they are actually an Australian band, hence the slightly unorthodox (to the American ear) voice!
There is little to say that hasn't already been said..
This album is full of haunting melodies, grand 3/4 jaunts, clear and nostalgic imagery, subtle yet complex instrumentation, and clever lyrics.
If you enjoy any of the bands mentioned in previous reviews you will more than likely enjoy this release. Although straight out folkish pop songs on the outside, these tracks reward repeat listens, allowing the dense arrangements to fully take hold.
Back on the Australian note, if you like this, you most certainly enjoy one of australia's finest bands, Augie March. I cannot speak highly enough...
anyway, this album is more than worthwhile, 4 stars