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

Posted: July 30, 2009 by Ferg in Album Reviews

HoLThe concept album is D-E-A-D. The last good one was Tommy. I stand by that. All subsequent attempts have been twangy nonsense, from the LSD-crazed 80’s to the embarassing Green Day attempt, none of them have ever been any good.

I’m admittedly biased, I think music should be about fitting a story, issue, rant, love ditty or social statement into about 2-5 minutes. If you can’t do that, you should be writing plays, not music, and certainly not albums. Be ambitious, write a musical.

And honestly, what wankery the theme for this album is. Don’t get me wrong, I did poetry at English A-Level, some of it was alright, I’m not a heathen, but quite sensibly, none cared about robots, mythical creatures or a society’s struggle to come to terms with rock ‘n’ roll. They didn’t like it in the 50’s and they still don’t like it now, which is why radio friendly bands like the Decemberists get such coverage.

So, that’s the concept album trashed. What about the music…first things first. Songs shouldn’t be repetitive. We all like rock because we got sick of pop being repetitive. And Adam’s right, this album does repeat itself a lot in places. There’s some promise – the grinding riffs on ‘A Bower Scene’ give a clue that the album could really show some depth, but instead all we get is the same basic chords that Busted dismissed because they were so simple over a 5 second period. For a moment, in ‘Won’t Wait For Love,’ there was a sense of Voodoo Child by Hendrix. Which quickly turned into repetitive, un-adventurous nonsense.

The soul-y stuff is ok, and the complete songs which could stand alone as singles – well, The Rake’s Song – is alright, and has a nice rhythm to it. But to be totally honest, that and the Reprise of The Wanting Comes In Waves are the only songs I’d be remotely tempted to play to anyone. The vocals are good, the music is substandard and the album is dire.

Stick to your radio friendly rock, Decemberists, but never assault my ears again.



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