Anyone could see the Decemberists were building up to this point. The stories they wrote, creating a rock opera was in Colin Meloy’s blood. And when I say rock opera, I mean it. This album rocks! The riffs and licks Chris Funk produces are slightly short of mind blowing and ear splitting. That is one of the most surprising aspects of this album. For a band that , except for a few choice songs, never really pulled out the guitar, really pays ode to cock operas of past. Hard-core fans might be upset with this move, but what it rightly showcases is a band trying something new and pulling it off. Another aspect that seems to be harped on is the story and how hard it is to follow. Anyone who says this really isn’t a Decemberists fan or really is not trying. The story is about a woman named Margret falling in love with a forest sprit. Then the sprits envies Forest Queen mother (voiced by the knock out voice of My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden) finds out about this and uses a murderous father to separate them. And while it ends the way most Decemberist stories end, that is slightly besides the point. It is a beautiful story that showcases the amazing abilities of this band. It’s a shame that some people are so knit-picky that they overlook this.