The latest album from The Decemberists didn’t cause much of a hullabaloo when it landed in our office, which is never a good sign. (Note: None of us had anything bad to say, we just didn’t find the idea of new music from them particularly exciting.) But then it scored a *5.7 review from Pitchfork, prompting Colin Meloy to tweet about a revenge plot that involved fans emailing butt pics to the music site. That got our attention because it was funny. So we decided to do some lite recon and round up reviews to see what a few other critics thought.
The bottom line: if you hate Jethro Tull, you’re going to want to stay far, far away from The Hazards of Love. Everyone else can stream it here.
“Mr. Meloy has always been fascinated by the British folk tradition and by 1970s rock, which can lead to the Decemberists sounding like a latter-day Jethro Tull. ‘The Hazards of Love’ plunges in further: It’s the band’s latter-day equivalent of Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick as a Brick,’ segueing from prettily picked ballads to church-organ processionals to riff-rock and back.” [NYT]
“The album, their major-label debut, mixed the chamber-pop sound of piano and various stringed instruments with dense prog-rock passages of that evoked nothing so much as the 1973 album ‘A Passion Play.’ That is to say, the Decemberists are sounding a lot like their generation’s Jethro Tull.” [Hartford Courant]
“But the truth is that the Decemberists have spent much of their career trying to make a better concept album/rock opera/song cycle than Jethro Tull‘s 1972 classic “Thick as a Brick,” and at last they have succeeded.” [Chicago Sun-Times]
“You listen to A Bower Scene – ‘thou unconsolable daughter,’ sings Meloy, ‘when wilt thou trouble the water?’ – and think: i’faith, sirrah, wilt thou not give it a rest? There is a certain kind of music fan who will read the above with a solemn expression: what we have on our hands here, gentlemen, is a potentially fatal outbreak of Jethro Tull, and we can only pray, for humanity’s sake, that the emergency services act swiftly to contain it.” [Guardian]
* Why didn’t Colin get mad at Entertainment Weekly too? Never mind, we can answer that for ourselves. But seriously, EW.com “sponsored” the album’s livestream on Imeem and then panned it. That’s just weird.