Album: The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love, (Rough Trade)

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The Independent Culture

A 17-song folk-rock opera complete with overture, children's choir, reprises, motifs and mythic and mundane themes... just another record from Portland's finest, then.

Except it isn't. Because Colin Meloy has taken his love of Fairport Convention and Brit-folk-prog in general and married it to its stadium-rock conclusion: Zep, Floyd, even Hawkwind. The result is an always melodic, singalong blend of Broadway and bedlam. It's like the Decemberists, only with teeth and claws. Brilliant.

Pick of the album: The magnificent 'The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid'

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