The Decemberists are gearing up for the release of 'What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World' on Jan. 20 via Capitol Records. In support of the new disc, the band will hit the road across Europe in February, and in the U.S. in March and April.

The new record finds the band focusing on the shorter song approach of its last album, as opposed to the grander scale of things like 'The Crane Wife.' It also covers a lot of ground lyrically, including the idea of calling it a day with the band. "There have been many times I’ve wanted to do that, but I keep getting drawn back in," band leader Colin Meloy recently told the Guardian. "'Anti Summer Song' touches on that idea. It was a humorous way of making fun of myself: I’m not going on just to sing another 'Summersong,' but here I am doing it on a record. You’re torn between throwing it all away and never wanting to give it up.”

The hiatus seems to have put things into perspective for Meloy. “At some point, you have to step away from it to make sure you’re not just on the sort of conveyor belt where you get into that record-promote-tour cycle and lose track of why you’re doing it,” he said, adding, “Having a family and a mortgage and people who rely on you for an income is a weird thing and has affected me personally.”

In addition, he has gained perspective on the day-to-day simplicities of life. When talk turns to the idealized vision of the way the world should be by many well-to-do citizens of his very liberal hometown of Portland, Ore., he calls them on it. “It’s a kind of magical thinking," he says, calling them “out of touch with the way the rest of the world works. We’re living alongside people who are being forgotten, who aren’t of that privileged class, and it drives me crazy.”

For now, all eyes on on the road ahead for both Meloy and band. “I’m thinking: ‘OK, I have a fan base who are expecting things, I have critics who I think about more than I should, I have peers I’m looking at," he explains. "Over the past four or five years, my perspective has shifted, my priorities have shifted.  I’ve also sold another couple of books and that’s a big part of what I want to do. I think this might be the new regime."

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