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The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

4.08 | 272 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Up until I purchased this album, I had not really ventured beyond the shores of the United Kingdom for either folk or prog folk music, excepting, maybe, the timeless classics of Simon & Garfunkel. This was purchased on the strength of a number of reviews on the site, and I fell in love with it virtually straight away. Since then, I have bought The Crane Wife, and will very soon complete my collection of this incredible band's material.

This album puts a complete end to the fiction that to qualify as folk music, a work has to somehow qualify for inclusion on the Cropedy Festival, run by Fairport Convention each and every year, and that proper folk music is, somehow, akin to a bunch of people merely playing instruments that haven't been seen commercially for a hundred plus years.

This is not merely a great American folk album, it is a also a rock opera/concept album of the highest order, telling as it does the compelling and, ultimately tragic, love story between Margaret and William, a fawn.

Colin Meloy tells his story with great aplomb, and is backed by some quite incredible female vocals along the way. Instrumentally, there is a bit of everything thrown in, from accordian to banjo to organ, but all along the way, the music accompanies the story in the very best traditions of operas. At once symphonic, at others folky, at others ambient, to some passages which remind one very strongly of the finest classic rock - for this, check out The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid, which features a great riff.

This album contains modern folk and rock music at its absolute best, and, if its purpose was to get the listener to explore such music out of the comfort zone of one's own country's artists, then it has absolutely succeeded.

Five stars for an album are meant to signify an essential album, one that qualifies as a masterpiece, and one that every decent prog collection should include.

Well, looking at the prog folk sub genre, there are some mighty fine albums there. I adore Tull, I love Mostly Autumn, I think Blackmore's Night are a superb act. All of these names will be, I think, familiar to many readers of this review.

If, however, you have not ventured beyond these familiar and comforting names, and wish to explore a great nations folk tradition updated to the 21st century, then this album is utterly essential.

A monumental work, and fully deserving of the perfect five stars.

lazland | 5/5 |


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