It is rare to find a songwriter with the hyper-literate sensibility and emotive voice of The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy. From “The Mariner’s Revenge Song,” which clocks in at nearly ten minutes and tells the story of a young mariner stuck in a whale with the man who wronged his late mother, to The Hazards of Love, a full-length indie folk rock opera of enchantments, transformation and forbidden love, the Portland-based group's music oftentimes reads like a bit from a novel framed behind a wall of exquisite, accordion-tinged sound. Whether dark and murderous, triumphant and whimsical or tender and lovesick, The Decemberists always create thought-provoking music.
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