ALBUM REVIEW: “Hazards of Love” by The Decemberists
Hazards of Love
So Colin Meloy went and wrote a rock opera. Considering his penchant for telling esoteric tales and his flair for the dramatic, it’s not all that surprising…except for the rock part. But when the bruising riff kicks in, it feels so right. There’s plenty of the Decemberists’ usual baroque folk balladry, too, but the musical departures tend to be the most satisfying parts; “The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid” succeeds by packing in a smokin’ riff, a soaring Arcade Fire-style chorus, and a smoldering, scene-stealing turn by guest vocalist Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, who voices the part of the Queen. The other characters are two lovers, Margaret (sung by the lovely Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond) and William, and a man known as the Rake, whose big song is the album’s first single. There are apparently rewards for the intrepid listeners who take it upon themselves to fully comprehend the plot, but the music is satisfying regardless. Whether you worship the ground Meloy walks on or generally find him insufferable, there’s something for you here.