The Decemberists return to the ‘Lake House’ with gentle new song

To say a folksy, literary and largely unplugged band like the Decemberists has mellowed with age seems facetious, but the lyric video for the new track “Lake Song” indicates that their new work is gentler — not to mention more accessible and radio-friendly — than much of their acclaimed back catalog. 

Mellow and nostalgic, “Lake Song” kicks off with a “Led Zeppelin III”-esque acoustic riff and remains thoroughly polished throughout. It lacks the often-caustic edge and quirkiness of much of the Portland band's older material, and sometimes creeps into bland adult contemporary territory, what with the stand-up bass and tinkling piano touches.

It's also less wordy than many of frontman Colin Meloy's best-known tunes, although you may need to grab a dictionary to look up “prevaricate” or “sibylline.”

More than just a lyric video, the handsomely shot, black-and-white “Lake Song” captures the Decemberists in the studio, where they snort tons of cocaine and throw dollar bills at strippers. Just kidding. They just stand around and look pensive while playing the song and wearing headphones. 

Watch it here:

“Lake Song” hails from their upcoming seventh studio album, “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful,” their first album in four years.

“What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World” arrives in your world January 20.