The Decemberists “Burying Davy”

 An indepth review of Burying Davy – “a somber, yet ironically lively musical experience.”

[By Jaclyn Gonzales]

When you think of The Decemberists, you think of indie folk rock with a touch of alt-country with styles that range from ballads, instrumental and pop folk, so it’s fitting that the newest single, “Burying Davy,” encompasses an emphasis on modern folk rock. “Burying Davy” is the third track off Long Live the King, released on November 1 by the Portland, Oregon group. The EP is comprised of material that never made the final release from the 2011 LP, The King is Dead.

“Burying Davy” is a 4:22-minute melancholic folksy song that is mainly an instrumental piece. The use of the electric guitar is a dominant presence and weighs heavily throughout the song which embarks midway ‘Davy’. The electric guitar provides substance and contemporizes the song, yet is suggestive of folksy 1970’s classic rock. It provides an impact to the song and steers it away from becoming a depressing piece. The intro begins with hushed guitar chords that set the tone for the single which suggest to the listener that they are in for a somber, yet ironically lively musical experience. Following is the mournful tone of lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy’s surly wailing lyrics as he calls people for Davy’s burial.

“Burying Davy” is evocative to the music styling of Mumford and Sons, specifically from the album Sigh No More. Colin Meloy’s tone is comparable to the slow delivery of Marcus Mumford’s voice and drawn lyrics which is harmonized perfectly with the folk instrumental composition. The atmospheric lyrics are strong and gloomy and are reminiscent to the sullen lyrical expressions of Morrissey, who happens to be one of their musical influences, with depressing lyrics such as, “Mother wept no tears/his brother grew unruly/mother wept no tears/ at burying Davy.” If you heed the repetitive words closely, it can be compared to a dark poem with its morose subject matter that is aching to divulge sadness to this preparation of the burial. It makes you want to know more about this dysfunctional family and the lack of remorse for the occasion. The culmination of instruments become the undercurrent to the entire song and erases the initial disheartened impression you may get when you first hear it.

‘Davy’ Ends with the lingering attitude of the audio feedback of the electric guitar, almost to indicate that even though dejection is written all over it, it’s disposition shoves through to tell this story. Overall, Burying Davy is somber in comparison to other Decemberists’ songs from past albums. Unlike the band’s other songs there are no background vocals to support Meloy’s melodious voice, but it showcases his talents as his voice carries itself indicating the spirit of the tone. Although this single is lacking the folk pop sounds that are sometimes synonymous with this band, it is a fine example that exhibits their indie folk rock abilities, by turning a melancholy account into an effortless tune to listen to.

Listen to Burying Davy .