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Hazards of Love

The Decemberists
Capitol

If you thought power ballads were dead and gone, think again. With The Hazards of Love, The Decemberists bring us a power-ballad concept album full of epic songs that tell intermingling stories of love gone wrong. I use the term power ballad because there is no other phrase to describe the kind of songs here. Perhaps “modern power ballad” would be more accurate, because the songs aren’t cheesy and pedestrian like those that came out in the ’80s.

Hazards
is filled with challenging imagery and masterful, multi-layered instrumentation. I balked at the usage of anachronisms like “thou” and “thee.” That is a small complaint. This is an ambitious work by a hardworking band that deserves to be heard and heralded.