Debating The Decemberists
Stereo Subversion– an online publication to which I sometimes contribute– is launching a new series of “internal debates,” wherein several of the ‘zine’s writers sound off on a particular record. The first installment features a smattering of opinions on The Decemberists’ new album, The Hazards of Love, including a comment from yours truly. The whole thing is worth reading, but if you just want me bit, it’s this:
Following the prog-rock leanings of The Crane Wife to their logical extreme, The Decemberists return with not just a concept album, but a full-fledged rock opera, and everything that such a work entails. There is sprawling ambition and complexity, but also a dearth of individual songs that stand on their own, making Hazards an impressive feat but a frustrating and exhausting listen.
In other words, I’m pretty much sticking by what I said in my review. Don’t mistake my lack of enthusiasm for a lack of appreciation, however: I deeply respect and admire the artistry and musicianship on display on this ambitious, compex record. However, I have to agree with Marc Hogan’s Pitchfork review: “Too much work, not enough payoff”