The swash-buckling, sea-shanty-ing troubadours are back with an excellent, rousing single. The band that brought you an 11 minute tale of revenge culminating in a torture scene inside a whale’s stomach, have teamed up with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (and his magical twelve string guitar) and Gillian Welch.

‘Down by the Water’ actually sounds a lot like an R.E.M. track set in olde times. Peter Buck’s influence is crucial to this song’s dark, sinister sound, and it acts as a reminder of how good a guitarist he can still be under the right direction.

It’s also nice to hear The Decemberists move away from the rockier sound that has instructed their last two albums. The band are always at the best when they adopt a driving acoustic approach, and, combined with a catchy harmonica motif, ‘Down By The Water’ marks a stunning return to form for this war, sex and death obsessed coterie.

The new album, The King Is Dead, is set for release on 17th January 2011. Honestly, I can’t wait!

Here’s the track listing:

1. Don’t Carry It All

2. Calamity Song
3. Rise To Me
4. Rox In The Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down By The Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This Is Why We Fight
10 Dear Avery


Release Date 15/11/2010 (Rough Trade)



Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...