The Decemberists, yet another of my more recent musical discoveries, released “The Hazards of Love” earlier this year, and having just been turned on to them, I just checked it out. “Wow” is the quickest way to describe this album.
There aren’t a ton of young bands out there who could produce a concept album like this and have it not suck. Listening to it the first time around, I was completely blown away by the structure of the album. It’s not just a collection of songs, it’s actually written in such a way that there is a story within the album. This is Pink Floyd kind of shit, and to say The Decemberists have hit a home run here would be an understatement. There isn’t a hit in baseball that describes this album.
The album blends so many genres and ideas together that it just doesn’t seem real. It seems like the world’s greatest sandwich. It has a lot of stuff on it, but you can taste everything.
At points I was thinking this was a fantastic emo rock opera, and others I was marveling at how dark and brooding the music got. There were times where the album would shift songs, and things would just hit a completely new level.
The balance on this album is phenomenal. Each of the tracks has its reasons for being included. Each track matters to the album as whole. There are no throwaway songs here. In a time where bands shit out fuve quality songs to put on a new album, and then bloat the other half of the album with filler horseshit, this is a marvelous accomplishment.
I don’t feel that pointing out specific tracks that standout is necessary for an album like this. The album as it is needs to be listened to start to finish. Suffice it to say, I feel there is a lot for everyone to like with this album.
What I heard on this album would be like if Death Cab for Cutie and Led Zeppelin had a child, gave it up for adoption, and then it was raised by Stephen Sondheim. I know that might sound weird, but trust me. It works.
This album has only wet my whistle with this band, and I can’t wait to check out some more of their catalog. “The Hazards of Love” is a masterpiece, one worthy of your ears. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.