The Decemberists have made their “most ambitious” album yet, said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. The folk-rock band has long crafted “fanciful tales filled with 10-dollar words and Shakespearean plot twists.” The Hazards of Love is something else again, a “17-part song cycle with interlocking musical themes, instrumental interludes, and an intricate plot” involving ill-fated lovers and malicious villains who want them dead. The Decemberists set their sights too high with such a “grandiose narrative,” said Marc Hogan in Pitchforkmedia.com. Lead singer Colin Meloy sings the parts of multiple characters, while guest stars Becky Stark and Shara Worden take the female leads. The confusing plot wouldn’t matter if the music itself worked, but the Decemberists drown their English folk stylings in “thick stoner-metal sludge and peat-bogged” prog-rock. As an ambitious experiment, The Hazards of Love is something to behold, said Josh Modell in Spin. But as a rock album, it asks “much more than it’s willing to give.”
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