Album Review: The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love (2nd Opinion)

April 6, 2009

Getting knocked up by a magical deer and drowning.

Concept: Folk rock heartthrobs release their fifth album, originally intended as a rock opera. A young woman falls in love with a forest spirit, and is pursued by its vengeful mother when she becomes with child.

Sound: The strongest parts of the album are the guest vocalists, particularly Becky Stark and Shara Worden, which better evoke the spirit of the album than the lyrics themselves. Somebody should tell Meloy to stop singing now, but instead he voices the narrator and two other characters. The melodic themes stay put, and the album as a whole is quite scatterbrained, but the themes are well chosen and pleasant. People who cite ‘metal’ influence in this album probably aren’t big fans of metal…basically, Funk turns his guitar’s distortion on for the first time in his career. The alternating movements of character’s dialogues are less than fluid. The Decemberists make up for what they lack in musical talent with the size of their assembly.

Lyrics: Rumors of the band’s eloquence have been greatly exaggerated. ‘Vocabulary’ should not be counted as a lyrical strength, but that’s the appeal The Decemberists seek. Actually listening to the narrative reveals all sorts of vestigial passages, grammatical errors, and thematic inconsistencies. There must have been a script to accompany the music at some point, or maybe they never got around to it. As far as I know, ‘mistle thrush’ is used here only because it rhymes with ‘underbrush,’ and ‘whistle’ to match ‘thistle,’ and so on. The fundamental fairy tale is interesting in an Oedipal way, but there are too many insipid elaborations resulting from a crossword puzzle intelligence.

Quick And Dirty: A good example of how fanboy b.s. can swing both ways. I’d see the live show to hear the ladies sing, but then again I’d rather observe their solo careers. (♦♦½)


One Response to “Album Review: The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love (2nd Opinion)”

  1. […] Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings, Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West, The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)i love lists!~ALL MY BEST~ well… most of it. ;D […]

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