The Decemberists - Picaresque
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2005 Ratings: #30 / 512
User Score
Based on 237 ratings
2005 Rank: #61
Liked by 46 people
March 22, 2005 / Release Date
LP / Format
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The Guardian

For fans of chiming, literate, lovelorn pop, Picaresque is an absolute treasure trove.


Picaresque captures the band in peak form, packing in exotic instrumentation that creates a lush and evocative backdrop to Colin Meloy's story-songs, which here are more colorful-- and more topical-- than ever.


Bro is having a jolly time up there

WOW okay this is fucking great. I’ve been really loving this band, and the more I dive into their discography, the more I’m rewarded with absolutely fantastic songs. I’m genuinely surprised these guys aren’t talked about more on this website. This album is their most fleshed out and grand up until this point, with amazing production, performances and songwriting. Seriously, this is a very consistent listen with zero songs being ... read more


It's very performative, which might turn off a number of people from this album. But I think it's pretty fun, though it's ambition can sound pretty uninspired at points, but when it reels back to tried and true indie folk it's pretty great, and those moments are supplamented with some great production and a hearty feeling of walking on the deck of a sailing boat, because it kind of sounds like pirate music at times, and that's fun


I imagine this sound is what would happen if Jeff Mangum says "fuck it let me join Belle and Sebastian." Picaresque has plenty of ambitious songwriting, as plenty as its moments of raw emotions. Very worthy of a listen.


How in all 9 circles of hell did I not listen to this sooner? This has all the hallmarks of things I love:

Non-traditional instrumentation
Lyrics with weird narratives
A lead singer with a weird voice
A variety of styles

There is not a song on this album that I don't love. "The Infanta" is a raucous opener that kicks the door down with group chants, "Eli the Barrow Boy" is a beautiful dirge, "The Sporting Life" is an upbeat song about everyone ... read more


every song is memorable


Good grief this completely blew me away. The fusion of folk rock, extremely grand theatrical production, and Emo-leaning vocals and sensibilities makes for a genuinely spectacular experience. Was truly not expecting this, one of the most seriously underrated records I’ve heard recently

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Year End Lists

#21/No Ripcord
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