The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love (2009) Capitol Records by Adam

Posted: July 17, 2009 by Adam in Album Reviews
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HoLThe concept album is back! However, does The Hazards of Love live up to David Bowie’s- Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Pink Floyd’s- The Dark Side of The Moon or does it have more in common with Styx’s failure Kilroy Was Here? An album built around the idea that robots have taken over the world and made rock and roll illegal. Thankfully there are no robots stopping the world from making sweet rock n’ roll in The Hazards of Love, just a taiga, a woman called Margret, an evil forest queen and a villainous rake. Lead singer Colin Meloy takes on the roles of the narrator, the taiga and the rake for this album with Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) playing Margret and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) as the forest queen. The story centres on the love story between the taiga and Margret, with the jealous forest queen and rake as outside characters. Both of the guest vocals are excellent especially Worden as the forest queen, her smoky vocals bringing life to the evil forest queen. The sound throughout the album is no great change from the Decemberists previous outing The Crane Wife or in fact…….any of their other albums, the twee lyrics of Meloy being prominent throughout. The band does experiment a bit during the Queen’s Rebuke and even wanders into prog rock territory, a new musical direction that Meloy has denied several times. Standout tracks on the album are Hazards of Love 1/3/4, The Queen’s Rebuke and the Rakes Song. At times the album does seem a bit repetitive and with Meloy taking on so many roles, and not changing his vocal style for any of the characters, it can be a bit confusing at times as to which character he is portraying. Apart from that this album is a real standout, with other bands sounding a bit formulated recently it is nice to see someone taking a risk and trying something different.


If you liked this you may also like: Frightened Rabbit, Sufjan Stevens, DeVotchKa, Okkervil River and Beirut.


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