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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
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The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love

Colin Meloy is the most literary rock 'n' roller of his generation. The Hazards of Love is his Moby Dick. It's a sweeping, epic tale, full of stylized language and symbolism. At its core, it's a saga about the raw and twisted emotions that drive human quests for love and power.

The protagonists of this sonic odyssey are William and Margaret. They are lovers trying to beat back the jealousy of William's powerful queen mother and a murderous villain called the Rake.

The album is a thrilling listen that demands to be heard in its long-play, rock-opera entirety. Chapters include "The Wanting Comes in Waves," in which Meloy strikes a deal with the queen (Shara Worden) to spend a night with Margaret. The six minutes of dialogue are pierced by thundering prog-rock electric guitar riffs.

The Hazards of Love isn't just one of the most ambitious albums of its time. It's the epitome of spine-chilling rock 'n' roll.

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