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Picaresque

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Nov. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kill Rock Stars
  • ASIN: B0007M22S4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This was a spur of the moment buy, based on a Guardian review - not always a reliable source but it sounded intriguing. What a lucky choice! These aren't just songs, these are a collection of wonderful, sometimes surreal, stories plucked from goodness knows where by the mind of writer Colin Maloy. It reminds me of the old English folk tradition of recounting tales of derring do and woe in equal measure. 'This Sporting life' tells of one man's embarrassment at a 'Charlie Brown' moment on the playing field (been there myself),' The Mariner's Revenge Song' is a haunting tale of a son given to seeking out the man responsible for his mother's death and eventually finding themselves together in the belly of a whale - all set to a rousing sea shanty song, complete with accordian. Entrancing stuff! Almost every track is a gem - it's the sort of album where you find yourself singing the songs long after you've switched the player off. Almost every song/story is a gem. Oh, just buy it -it's fab!!
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Format: Audio CD
don't suppose this is for everyone, so individual and original are The Decemberists (folk-pop-indie-rock?), but, my god, do I love it myself. I don't really know what to say about it. Great melodies, great stories in the words, a haunting voice. It's got everything. It swells and crashes like storm-bred waves; it's folk yet its indie-rock; it's the most atmospheric music I've heard in years. I could listen to it for hours and hours. I do. I've not heard anything like it before.
This is certainly my favourite of their releases so far. They get better and better. Highlights include "The Engine Driver" (a lovely lament), "A Cautionary Song" (bawdy and sad), "We Both Go Down Together" (moving, tragic) and "The Mariner's Revenge Song" (a true sea-going epic!) Oh, and watch out for the sombre and solemn "Eli, the Barrow Boy" - it might lead to a little tear or two. Actually, there are so many great tracks here, almost all of them are special.
I can't guarantee that you'll like this but, well, you should; it's superb stuff. Music just as it should be. Have a listen to The Engine Driver (available at various places online) and if you like then go straight out and GET THIS ALBUM. You won't regret it. I'm making all my friends listen to them now.
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Format: Audio CD
Now, this may seem a little over the top but I think they jolly well have! They have turned me into one of those people who only like to listen to the same one or two bands ALL the time, despite the fact that their favourite bands are many.
'Picaresque' is only the second Decemberists album in my possession (The first being 'The Hazards Of Love' which I must listen to at least once a day), and it is a sheer joy from beginning to end. My personal favourite has to be 'We both go down together' which picks up Mr Meloy's recurrent theme of drowning/suicide pact inducing, all consuming love.
I really struggle to explain to people who ask 'what music do you like', but that is the benefit of only listening to two bands. You don't have to describe it 'Belle and Sebastian and The Decemberists' is my reply and with a puff of smoke , I am gone and they have not got a clue what I am on about.
So in conclusion, but this one and that one and any other one there is and give your brain a treat!
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Jan. 2006
Format: Audio CD
The obscure word "Picaresque" is an accurate title for the third full-length album by the Decemberists. If you want to get technical, the word refers to humorous adventure stories, starring roguish antiheroes. Considering the folky pirate sound of the Decemberists' latest -- and best -- album, this seems an appropriate title.
Not that folky-pirate is a NEW sound for them; it's characterized their past music, except for the richly mythic "Tain EP." But the Decemberists amp up their instruments in "Picaresque," making the melodies bigger and louder than before. A few songs like "Espionage" harken back to their previous stripped-down sound, with mainly Colin Meloy and his acoustic guitar. But these are actually the minority here.
From the very first song, the pulse-racing percussive "Infanta," it becomes clear that the Decemberists haven't changed their sound so much as made it faster and louder. Which, it seems, was just the punch that the Decemberists needed in their prior albums, taking their music from good to really, really good. With this amped-up sound, their music seems larger than life.
The songs are also more eclectic than in prior albums, dabbling in accordion sea shantys, bouncy classic-pop, percussive rock, and mild acoustic ballads. The music still centers on Colin Meloy's acoustic guitar, and the lyrics have a feeling of old-world grandeur, sepia photos and dusty literarature. But it's also getting a bit more complex, with strings, drums and accordion often taking center stage.
And the Decemberists get to expand their songs to topics other than, er, acrobats, ships and so forth.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on 2 Sept. 2005
Format: Audio CD
(1) Buy any album by the Decemberists.
(2) Give it away to a friend, because it's so good you want to share it.
(3) Repeat.
I feel like it's Groundhog Day.
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