An early preview of The Decemberists “Hazards of Love”

Update: It’s could be a good album.  I was surprised by how heavy it was.  Colin Malloy is wading the band out into some serious 70s prog rock concept album waters. I think this is the album where the diehard fans become even more so and everyone else just sort of decides enough is enough. 

I worry, however, that Malloy is beginning to accentuate in the extreme everything that I didn’t like about the band.  Gone is the sense of playful pop, subsitituted with nothing but the hyper-articulate, pompous aspects of the band.  There has to be a balance; that’s why we grew to love them because the two sides compensated and elevated the other. 

Portland’s The Decemberists will debut their new rock opera tonight at NPR’s SXSW musical showcase. 

The show will be streamed and broadcast live from Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin, Tex., and archived online afterward, starting at 11 p.m. ET on Wed., March 18. (The Decemberists will take the stage at 1 a.m. ET, after opening acts The Avett Brothers and The Heartless Bastards – excellent bands in their own right and worth listening to tonight, as well.)

Portland's The Decemberists

Portland's The Decemberists

The Hazards of Love a 17-song, sprawling narrative , and tells the woodland melodrama of a character named Margaret — voiced by Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, alternately — who encounters such obstacles as a lecherous villain, forest royalty and rapacious, shape-shifting fauna.

The first single “The Rake’s Song” has been on constant rotation since it dropped a month ago.  Nothing has leaked since, so this really is the first chance of getting a taste of new Colin Malloy and Co. 

I probably won’t be staying up to listen live, but it’s going to be the first thing I listen to over morning coffee tomorrow. 

The Hazards of Love is the fifth studio effort from The Decemberists and will be released on Capitol Records March 24.

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