Album: The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love (Capitol)
Friday 27 March 2009
Sometimes, a good idea isn't quite enough. Always a fan of 1960s British folk-rock and prog, Decemberists songwriter Colin Meloy was inspired to create this concept album by hearing Anne Briggs's rare 1966 EP The Hazards Of Love.
There being no track of that title on the EP, Meloy decided to write one, and wound up composing an entire rock-operatic song-cycle couched in trad-folk terminology, about a maiden ravaged by a shape-shifting animal. It's created with a good ear for both period diction and the prog-folk instrumental palette, with references to "thistledown" and "arbour eaves", and archaic locutions like "Bereft the weight of our summer clothes" set to mostly stringed accompaniment. In the case of "Annan Water", it's as if the group are trying for the full set of folksy instrumentation, with mandolin, dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, organ and autoharp crowded in alongside the guitars, bass and drums. Unfortunately, the dread spectres of Jethro Tull and Atomic Rooster rise above tracks where the folksy arrangements develop heavy blues-rock riffing of 1970s vintage. Elsewhere, the strings and piano ostinatos resemble Arcade Fire. But the decision to have the tracks segue into a long narrative imposes too onerous a duty on the listener: after all, it's still just pastiche.
Download this: 'Annan Water', 'The Hazards Of Love 3 (Revenge!)', 'The Wanting Comes In Waves (reprise)'
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Hercules, review: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson takes centre stage in preposterous movie
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Fifty Shades of Grey film stills
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia