THE DECEMBERISTS > The Hazards of Love

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It is usually relatively easy to decipher between a folk-rock record and a musical soundtrack, but the release of The Decemberists fifth studio album presents some interesting confusions. The sorely misnomered (and Stephen Colbert dubbed) hyper-literate prog-rockers have created an album that has warranted “Rock Opera” comparisons as it delicately unfolds into an album-long tale.Label: CAPITOL
[Rating: 4 STARS]










It is usually relatively easy to decipher between a folk-rock record and a musical soundtrack, but the release of The Decemberists fifth studio album presents some interesting confusions. The sorely misnomered (and Stephen Colbert dubbed) hyper-literate prog-rockers have created an album that has warranted “Rock Opera” comparisons as it delicately unfolds into an album-long tale. The Seattle-based band uses their tried and true methods of antiquated vernacular and ancient feeling folk melodies to explore the melodic wilderness of musical theatre. The quintet also treads new ground as they brandish new sonic weaponry such as pedal steel, hardcore breakdowns, and guest vocalists Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond). While an epic love story unravels, a mysterious haze is intentionally hung over the story, exalting the album’s mystical legend-like feel. Melodies and guitar riffs reprise throughout the record’s fantastical quirkiness, revealing the innumerable wrinkles within the fabric of love.


4 Comments

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  1. They are based in Portland, and calling “hyper-literate prog-rockers” a misnomer may have upped your word count, but has nothing to do with the rest of your review, and is debatable.

  2. I think the “hyper-literate prog-rockers” label is completely and utterly wrong if you look at the discography as a whole and really only applies if you look at a few select songs (songs like The Perfect Crime #1 and The Island suite.) They are much more accurately a folk rock band, albeit an ambitious one.

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