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The Hazards of Love

March 18, 2009

The Decemberists new album was exclusively released on iTunes yesterday. I was under the impression that it would not be officially released until the next Tuesday, so imagine my surprise when Colin Meloy tweeted that the album, The Hazards of Love, was available for download.

Much like their 2004 EP, The Tain, their latest release is the telling of one narrative that spans the entire album (granted, The Tain is one 18+ minute track). The 17 tracks of the album flow nicely together giving the impression of one symphony with a handful of different movements. Meloy seems appears almost Wagnerian with his subtle leitmotifs spread throughout the album.  The different characters of the album are voiced by various chanteurs from The Decemberists and other groups. Meloy’s voice, naturally, is most often heard but he is joined by Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark from Lavender’s Diamond. Apparently, as Pitchfork has noted, Neil Diamond was busy elsewhere.

Overall, the music falls nicely in the catalogue of The Decemberists’ work. The Tain seemed heavily Led Zeppelin-esque and The Hazards of Love still resonates with the influence. The beats are a bit harder, the guitar is often crunchier and there is definite purpose behind Meloy’s voice. His lyrics, like always, are more poetic than his contemporary song writers and it seems that the imagery present throughout this album is among his best.

Do yourself and pick up this record. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    March 20, 2009 12:45 am

    If I become a fan of the Decemberists now, am I still early enough to avoid bandwagon?

  2. March 20, 2009 11:50 am

    Um, I don’t know if that’s for me to say. This is their second major-label release and this was the number one album on iTunes store for a day or two. Whether on the bandwagon or not, it’s worth listening to this band.

  3. Alex permalink
    March 20, 2009 4:32 pm

    Alright, I may give them a whirl. My pen pal told me about them years ago, but I foolishly didn’t follow up.

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  1. The Decemberists at Tower Theatre « the anxiety of influence

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