Using a converted barn as their studio, The Decemberists pulled inspiration from the surrounding meadows and forest to weave their lyrics in King. And you can hear the influence on nearly every track from the earthy imagery in "June Hymn" to "Down by the Water." If the latter sounds a bit like R.E.M., you're not mistaken; R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck joins The Decemberists on three of the albums' songs. But the overall message of the album is simplicity. The songs are mainly acoustic, with instruments you might find in a rundown honky-tonk (think harmonica and accordions). It seems The Decemberists have decided to let go and just unwind — and the relaxed album is perfect for just that.