Exposé Online banner

The Decemberists — The Hazards of Love
(Capitol 50999 2 14710 2 5, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01

The Hazards of Love Cover artWith each successive release, The Decemberists seem to get more proggy. Their brand of folk-oriented rock owes more to Jethro Tull and Strawbs than the Byrds and CSNY. Leader Colin Meloy’s stories are as old-fashioned and literate as ever, this time worked into a full-on concept, with the songs running together and various themes (musical and lyrical) recurring in variations, and in fact it could be called a rock opera. Four vocalists cover the characters: Shana Worden and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond, and Meloy himself. The story was inspired by an old Anne Briggs album with the same title, and concerns a jealous forest queen, a woman who falls in love with a shape-changing forest spirit, and a villainous Rake. The instrumentation includes banjo, acoustic guitar, accordion, pedal steel guitar, and upright bass augmented by some very proggish keyboards and occasional more orchestral moments, even including a children’s chorus backed by harpsichord and a very warped synthesizer tone. And there are some grand heavy riffs as well, bringing the rock in no small way. To my ear, it succeeds on every level, and given the band’s major label status, it’s great to hear something so obviously progressive get the kind of attention they get. Prog fans certainly should check this out.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): The Decemberists

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Grobschnitt - Grobschnitt – Prog fans have been enjoying a renaissance of vintage prog re-issues. Albums that either never made it to CD or were transferred poorly to begin with are being released for your pleasure. Premier...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues