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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hazards Of Love review
It's nice to read so many positive reviews for this album, particularly those from fans of the first generation of prog-rock fans. The Decemberists certainly seem to have hit the right notes for many with this one. For myself, my first taste of their music was the wonderful Picaresque, which was one of those really special finds that put me in a spin for weeks, just...
Published on 21 Jan 2010 by Pseudonymous

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 Stars - It's OK
This album certainly didn't blow me away as I had hoped. That's mainly due to the feeling of 'sameness' experienced during the CD's first half. I feel this CD lacks the dynamics and hooks of THE CRANE WIFE. The recurring melodic themes not only prevent this album from fully taking off, they threaten to lull the listener to sleep. It's not until two minutes into track...
Published on 3 Feb 2011 by ds


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hazards Of Love review, 21 Jan 2010
This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
It's nice to read so many positive reviews for this album, particularly those from fans of the first generation of prog-rock fans. The Decemberists certainly seem to have hit the right notes for many with this one. For myself, my first taste of their music was the wonderful Picaresque, which was one of those really special finds that put me in a spin for weeks, just brilliant. Hearing Castaways And Cutouts, after that, was a none-event, unfortunately.

So now I own a copy of The Hazards Of Love, and concur with the masses that this is one audacious album. The music is bright and adventurous, drawing noteably from classic prog-rock, British folk-rock, Americana, the blues, and a hint of early music, throughout the telling of one rather dark tale. If this storyline were made into a film or book you can be sure I'd steer clear, but it is curious that such subject-matter in song-form, at least in the capable hands of folks like The Decemberists, doesn't leave me disturbed and regretting the encounter. There is plenty of light and space here and it is overall much more dignified (in a good way) than you might expect.

I have no problem with Colin Meloy's singing (though my wife did at first), I'm actually reminded of Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band), and it is perfect for these songs. Also akin to Robin Williamson, Colin Meloy is like a magpie collecting curios and decorating a nest, all sorts of shiny fragments that don't really go together in normalville but together in this setting are beautiful. Joining Colin are Sharon Worden - who sings with suitable power, malevolence and contempt as the Queen character - and Becky Stark, singing as Margaret, whose voice is soft and lovely and goes well with Colin's voice, particularly on the charming Isn't It A Lovely Night?. On The Wanting Comes In Waves, there are passages with swooping female backing vocals that sound like they were pulled off of Neon Bible by Arcade Fire, I was surprised at first, but it's good stuff.

Choosing to make a concept album has its pitfalls, one artistic decision that I'm not so keen on is having all the songs run into each other. It works really well in some places but not in others, it's just a small detail but after a while I just crave a couple of seconds pause between tracks. This probably magnifies my sense that there should be a certain commitment on the part of the listener to hear out the complete album, it feels improper to pick and choose tracks, whereas an album of stand-alone songs can be taken in smaller portions without it feeling strangely wrong. Because of this I will probably listen to this album less.

I don't rate this album quite as highly as many of the other reviewers have, I think it is very fine, strong throughout, adventurous, but I like Picaresque better. In some ways Hazards Of Love is like the brilliant Mariner's Revenge Song or the Bagman's Gambit - both songs brimming with ideas, both arranged into several scenes - allowed to grow in size and bust out of its earthenware pot and take over the greenhouse. At the first listen to Hazards I wasn't sure what I made of it, but several listens on, and with much of the story more or less understood, I can say I like it lots!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody bloody great!!, 28 Mar 2009
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
Well...what do you say eh? Despite perhaps others attempts at diminishing this latest epic as pretentious, pomp, meaningless folk/prog/rock ish, I am blown away - as usual!
Lyrically this is unsurpassed - just sit and listen! I love words - I really do! This is poetry and storytelling at it's best, all crafted within a cocoon of gorgeous music. Having discovered the Decemberists a few years ago I have listened with curiosity and growing admiration. The Crane Wife was lovely, haunting, painful to listen to at times but always wonderful. The Hazards of Love is .....probably the best recording of it's genre - is there a genre that encapsulates these guys? I don't know! Anyway vocally with the guest appearances (Shara Worden in particular) this album is beautiful, just beautiful. I don't know of another band that can just do this sort of thing. They are an unlikely bunch... just look at their photos.... but for me (and I know it's always personal with music - it HAS to be) this is a classic. Thanks guys - more of the 'same' - but oh so different. Lovely lovely lovely. Colin Meloy is a genuinely genius songwriter. This a a genuinely genius album.
Try it, don't be deterred by what you may read, get in there, close your eyes and let yourself be sucked in, seduced and sensualised! It's just good good music!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 28 April 2009
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
As with the previous Decemberists albums, this is a well-crafted, imaginative and vivid album. I love the fact that The Decemberists have such a distinctive sound, and yet each album is quite different from the last. All the ingredients are present here - stories, some good rocking parts, fun and menace. It stand up to plenty of listens as well. Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hazards? A 'Safe' Bet, 22 April 2009
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
Hazards of love is getting fave reviews across the board and I can only add to that by giving it 5 starts.
A concept album but that shouldn't put you off. The album winds a thoroughly enjoyable course through the 'Hazards' and takes in a variety of musical styles but never loses sight of a decent tune.
Definately an album for your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had read a few reviews...., 19 April 2009
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
I had read a few reviews of this release and was a bit skeptical of some of the extravagant claims- but having heard it, it is THE album all Decemberists fans have been waiting for - a fully developed concept album and quite superb with it. My only complaint is I wish it had been a double cd.
A masterpiece from start to finish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a long time fan, 15 April 2009
By 
David R. Grant "Mgband" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
This is a hard album to review because it is very dense, and requires a number of active listening sessions to fully appreciate. I have followed The Decemberists for years now, and I find it thrilling that even after they sign to a major record label they continue to buck the conventions of modern pop music (unlike say, Death Cab for Cutie, who have lost some of their indie rock edge). The Crane Wife was a very ambitious project, and I love that album, but that album is no where near the sheer scope of The Hazards of Love. Hazards is an album that is meant to be played from beginning to end as it conveys a constant and consistent idea. Think The Tain, just much longer, and much more ambitious.

But what really shocks me is that a major record company can release an album with no real radio friendly singles. The only track that comes close is 'The Rake's Song', and the lyrics to that song are too dark and morbid for it to get any real air time. But don't misunderstand, I love the fact that one of my favorite bands continues to evolve and challenge how we think about the concept of the 'concept album'.

If you are a long time fan, then there is a huge chance that you will like this. Honestly though, if you have never heard an entire Decemberists album before, then this may prove a struggle as a first album, but that should not discourage anyone, this truly is a great album. I would recommend this fully to anybody who has an open mind toward music.

I for one love it, as I love all of The Decemberist albums. I could be biased, but I would encourage anyone reading this to at least give it a full listen while relaxing with a glass of wine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute treat, 11 April 2009
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Richard Young (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
Ok so you have listened to music for 30+ years and the taste buds are a little jaded. It takes an exceptional album to exhilarate and captivate an ageing ear but this is one such CD. Have played the tracks until the point I am being threatened with divorced. Clever lyrics supported by musicians sounding like they are playing in real time rather than being over produced. Beautiful, melodic. If this had been released back in the day it would by now be a 5* classic.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the complete works, 13 Jun 2009
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A. D. Hall (wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
This is the only album I've heard from The Decemberists.
And it's bloody brilliant.
Take a bit of prog-folk ala Strawbs, throw in a bit of Fairport/Sandy Denny, add a pinch of heavy-rock and let it simmer for 20 years.....freshen up with a twist of modern Americana and hey presto.....you've got yourself an all time classic album. Have had this on almost constantly in the car for a month and can hardly bring myself to press eject.Poor Old Neil Young's Fork in the Road hasn't had a look-in, and he's my all time hero.
Almost reluctant to buy their other albums cos I can't see how they can top this one.....but it's a risk I'm gonna have to take, especially as some other reviewers seem to rate them higher than Hazards.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Murder Ballad to Murder Murder Ballads!, 22 Mar 2009
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Aldo Z. Picek "Trieste1" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
Has it been that long since the Crane Wife? Really? I still play that CD a lot. Seen them twice in the UK since. Teased greatly the 3 singles just passed... what were we to expect? All of the lyrical gymnastics and a murder ballad to murder murder ballads. Enjoy the Tain, youll love this. Enjoy the cold blooded jollity of the Shaknill Butchers? Enjoy sex, death, love, blood, jealousy, its all here. Complex, layered, intertwined, engaging yet deep, deep, deep... God I hope they come to the UK and do the same as the US tour- play the whole album and then a few classics. A folk-rock classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a great album!, 11 May 2011
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R. Murray (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hazards Of Love (Audio CD)
I'm amazed it's taken me so long to get round to reviewing this album. I can't praise it highly enough - it's fantastic! I think I must have listened to it at least 100 times since I bought and I never find it boring. It's sweet, bitter, funny and moving - in my view a true concept album.

I like all the Decemberists' albums but this one I truly love.
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