The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

Album Review by Jeff Miranda | 05 Mar 2009
  • The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
Album title: The Hazards of Love
Artist: The Decemberists
Label: Rough Trade
Release date: 23 Mar

Even though The Decemberists have been lobbed in the "folk rock" musical genre since they broke out with debut album Castaways and Cutouts nearly eight years ago, they've been pushing hard at the boundaries of that label ever since. With their fifth studio album, Hazards of Love, the quintet delivers its most focused and cohesive record to date. Despite a complicated lyrical story arc based on centuries-old folk tales – Love's narrative is built around a cast of mythical characters – the band moves skillfully through heavy metal riffs on tracks like The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing to some accordion prowess on Isn't It A Lovely Night? The disc also sheds a little of the quintet's prog-rock tendencies – the longest song clocks in at just under 6 and ½ minutes. You might take issue with their pretentious nature (folk tales, really?) but at least they deliver what is often sorely missing in today's rock music: the ability to take risks. [Jeff Miranda]