The Decemberists

The Decemberists are a rock band that resemble a collective of librarian gangsters.

A grab-bag of sinisterness and misery

Very dapper gangsters

Colin Meloy keeps the names of all who have wronged him in his big red book

Just The Facts

  1. The Decemberists formed in Portland, Oregon in 2000 either out of boredom or in a wrinkle in time
  2. They are known for their erudite songs, with eloquent lyrics set to august, richly-enveloping melodies and arrangements
  3. I had to use a dictionary to write that previous sentence

Cracked on The Decemberists

The Decemberists are from the aforementioned Portland, which is generally considered either an oasis or cesspool for hipsters and Pitchfork readers, depending on who you ask. They started out on independent labels, Hush and Kill Rock Stars, which I feel confirms my fear that The Decemberists are using their music career to cover up their rock n' roll hitman career.

"We've killed Jerry Garcia. You're next, Keith Richards"

Since their first album, Castaways and Cutouts, their sound has developed from a mellow folky/chamber music sound to a harder-hitting, proggy, rock n' roll(ish) sound. Their latest album, The Hazards of Love, is a goddamn rock opera/narrative; complete with metal guitars, ominous, spooky acoustic guitars, multiple vocalists to represent a speaker in the story, and a story (what a concept!) about a woman who fucks a shapeshifting deer, gets knocked up and falls in love with the deer, angers the Forest Queen, gets kidnapped by a rapist, and then drowns with her deer-lover in a mystical river. Understandably, this means The Decemberists are now more like sinister monsters from the deepest reaches of darkness.

The deepest, fuzziest, reaches of darkness

The deepest, prickliest, reaches of darkness

The most notable aspect of the Decemberists is their lyrics. Frontman and possible time-traveler Colin Meloy doesn't sing about typical rock n' roll subject matter like "Hey, being a rock star is awesome!" or "It's Saturday night, let's go out and get wasted," or even "SATAN!" Instead, he prefers to use big words to sing about things like architects, vengeful mariners, Civil War couples, gangsters (*wink*), government workers, robbers, soldiers, star-crossed lovers/suicides and general historical potpourri.

The Decemberists: Rock Group or Rebel Gang?

I've previously stated my possibly bullshit theory about how The Decemberists are really a gang of violent bookworms, or even a cabel of creatures from the beyond. Let's focus on the gang thing. First, they take their name from an attempt by Russian officers to stop Tsar Nicolas I's rise to the throne in 1825. Hmm, using intimidation to try and get what you want? Sounds like something a mobster would do. Second, in every photo of the Decemberists, at least one of the members looks like they're ready to shank you with a sharpened bookmark.

It will have an Edgar Allen Poe quote embossed on the side

Third, most of their songs deal with death and murder. Like The Mariner's Revenge Song:

That is totally something a gangster would do. It's sinister, it's sort of justified, and it's mad.

But the biggest reason why I'm convinced The Decemberists are gangsters is because they admitted it themselves! Take a look at the video for their song, "O Valencia!":

Look at that, it's about gang warfare. It's the perfect explanation for their gang connections. Also, it gives Colin Meloy enough motivation to write songs about failed romances because he's been through it before!

So in conclusion, don't fuck with The Decemberists, lest you end up with your head crushed between two hardcover copies of War & Peace.