.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/56eef52b5ded47fbfb9519056552f165470f4db2.jpg The Hazards Of Love

The Decemberists

The Hazards Of Love

Rough Trade
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
April 2, 2009

The Decemberists are devoted anachronists. So with the pop album completing its evolution into iPod shuffle — mix fodder, it's the right time for the Portland, Oregon, band to release an old — fashioned prog concept record. True to form, The Hazards of Love brings the glorious excess: There's strummy British folk rock and heavy — metal thunder, orchestral strings and a children's choir. Guitarist Chris Funk, like Yes' Steve Howe, deploys every stringed instrument in the showroom, from mandolin and autoharp to pedal steel. And ringleader Colin Meloy gathers Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and others to sing a tale of a maiden knocked up by a shape — shifting beast who may be her future husband. There's also a psychotic queen and three revenge — seeking ghost kids.

The Decemberists approach this kind of pretentiousness somewhat ironically, but they also clearly love their models, Led Zeppelin and Fairport Convention among them. While Funk's Valhalla — calling power chords on "The Abduction of Margaret" feel a little like punch lines, they're also awesomely rockin'. So are Worden's frightening PJ Harvey — ish queen roars, and even the kids choir. There could be a few more hooks. But great prog concept records are way more about sound journeys than killer choruses. From the glacial, droning opening track to the head — scratcher folk finale, The Hazards of Love takes its time, inviting you to grab a seat in front of the fire, stoke your Meerschaum pipe and take a trip.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com