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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Decemberists

Tonight @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

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There’s no shortage of bands mining the baroque-pop template spelled out by Neutral Milk Hotel, but few of them benefit from songwriting as singular as that of The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy. Though Meloy initially caught attention with his million-dollar vocabulary and nautical-themed songs, he’s since moved beyond pirates to explore more ambitious folklore, including a traditional Japanese tale about a man who marries a shape-shifting bird on their 2006 breakthrough The Crane Wife and, on this year’s The Hazard of Love, which introduced heavier, prog-rock riffs to the band’s palate, an original yarn spun from European folkloric conventions that also involves no shortage of shape-shifting creatures.