The Decemberists

Are the Decemberists too literary, too melodramatic, too
grandiloquent, too anachronistic for their own good, as their
detractors suggest? That depends on what “too” means. Certainly, Colin
Meloy and his Portland, Oregon, art-rock outfit have carved out a
fairly unique and polarizing career with their vivid,
dictionary­necessitating tales of old-timey chimney sweeps and
seafarers and bewitching crane women, set to a bittersweet symphony of
mandolin, tuba, guitar and accordion. Sure, the 25-cent words and
red-velvet-curtain theatrics come out early and often, but the band is
also quite charming, melodically captivating and sonically fulfilling,
particularly live. Clearly, Meloy won’t let any criticism change his
ways: The Decemberists’ new album, The Hazards of Love, is a
colorful, bizarre fable involving a woman, her shape-shifting animal
lover, a mythical forest queen, and a rapscallion called “the Rake.”
Musically, Hazards finds the Decemberists taking stabs at
quasi-metal and prog-rock, alongside their usual
fop-pop.

Categories: Music