Colin Meloy | AP
Updated: November 8, 2013 3:36PM
When Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy announced in 2011 that his band would take a hiatus, no one expected him to remain idle for long. But the change allowed him to throw himself back into the fantastical world of the Impassible Forest within his “Wildwood Chronicles” series of children’s books, and the third installment of the collaborative effort with his award-winning illustrator wife Carson Ellis is due early next year.
Look at the list of touring laws recently posted to his Twitter account, and it may seem as if Meloy is anxious to hit the road again. “Buy socks,” he writes. “Loads and loads of them. Don’t skimp. Always endeavor to wear nice socks.”
He also has a reward system in place for the tour’s conclusion. “For every week you are on the road, you are allowed one day of doing absolutely nothing on return,” he writes. Presumably, Ellis will tolerate all of those unwashed socks in Meloy’s unpacked suitcase.
Fans attending Meloy’s first solo tour in five years can expect the same style of erudite and baroque pop plied by his famous band, albeit on a more intimate scale. Meloy’s clear and precise vocal delivery works well at this level, and puts a focus on his well-refined storytelling sensibilities.
One special attraction of the tour is a limited edition EP of Kinks covers to be sold exclusively at shows. Meloy claims the influential British Invasion rockers were selected for scrutiny “by a process involving public polling, meditative introspection and a completely random lottery.” It was a fortunate choice. Kinks mastermind Ray Davies’ attention to small details is a natural fit to Meloy’s scholarly approach and literate songwriting.
♦ Colin Meloy, with guest Eleanor Friedberger, 8 p.m. Nov. 11, Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., $28, all ages admitted, (773) 929-5959; colinmeloy.com, parkwestchicago.com.