The Decemberists — The Hazards of Love
(Capitol 50999 2 14710 2 5, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01With 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.
Related artist(s): The Decemberists
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more