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Her Majesty. It's most excellent...
but they are a ban that take a little bit of getting into. The songs are wordy and the arrangements rich and overblown. It can all seem a bit much at first, but if you stick with them you'll probably end up a passionate obsessive.
I think there best and possibly most representative record is 'Picaresque', closely followed by 'Her Majesty'. I couldn't really chose between those for a recommendation.
The most recent album 'The Crane Wife' is also fanatastic and maybe a little more accessible in some ways.
They haven't made a bad record though - you could just find the cheapest one on ebay or amazon and start with that.
everyone is always all 'oh, its the major label sell out album blah blah blah'. fuck that. its a fantastic, cohesive, amazing album.
first two albums are a bit meh.
so theres not much scope for going wrong. picaresque's a good starting point though cos you get the ultra flamboyant fun side of the band but also some of the more simple ballady type songs. i'm also a big fan of castaways and cutouts but thats probably the least characteristic album of theirs(read:close to normal).
really good band though.
Castaways > Crane Wife > Picaresque > Her Majesty
which just goes to show what a great band they are.
Castaways & Cutouts is always the one I grab when I fancy a Decemberists hit.
But they're all great albums and you can't go wrong with any of them