After two years, the Decemberists come back with an unusual experimentation in their new album, The King is Dead. The unusual part: a set of 10 brief, country themed songs which marks a planned turn towards simplicity after the band’s previous, wild and widely acclaimed 2009 album The Hazards of Love. The album features special guest appearances by Gillian Welch on seven tracks and legendary R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck on three tracks. The Decemberists are well known for their complexity in composing music as Front man Colin Meloy explains, "For all my talk about how complex those records were, this one may have been harder to do," he says. "It’s a real challenge to make simple music, and lot of times we had to deliberately hold off and keep more space. This record is an exercise in restraint." The lead single off this album is entitled Down by the Water and is strongly focused on tender voice of Collin Meloy and is accompanied accordion riffs and heavy harmonica reminiscent of Neil Young. Lyrically, Down by the Water is vaguely mournful. It has been described as "folksy", "up-tempo", and "country-esque", and the chorus as "booming”. Although this may seem a change for the worst for many fans, it’s nice to give this album a chance…I sure did. I give this album a strong two out of four stars.