The Decemberists Wrap Up New Record With Becky Stark, Shara Worden, Jim James and More

The Decemberists have revealed the details behind their new record, The Hazards of Love. Due out March 24 through Capitol, the “17-song suite” is “rooted in ancient language and imagery” and features guest appearances by Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Robyn Hitchcock, Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes) and Jim James (My Morning Jacket). It’s also an unforeseen cross between heavy-metal and folk, as inspired by the British folk revival of the ’60s and Anne Brigg‘s reverred EP The Hazards of Love. Since that release lacked a title track, Colin Meloy set out to write his own “tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake.”

As Meloy explains in a press release, “There’s an odd bond between the music of the British folk revival and classic metal. A natural connection between, like, Fairport Convention and Black Sabbath–of course, Sandy Denny from Fairport even sang with Led Zeppelin on ‘The Battle of Evermore.’ I think there’s a shared sense of narrative and ambience, of moving beyond the first person in your writing. And I thought it would be interesting to mess around with that.”

As if the album itself wasn’t ambitious enough, the Decemberists plan on playing it from intro to out on their spring tour, alongside a second set of fan favorites. Want a taste of what to expect? Download “The Rake’s Song” at the band’s site right now. (Or skip all that newsletter sign-up business and simply snag it below …

The Hazards of Love:
1. Prelude
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen’s Approach
7. Isn’t it a Lovely Night?
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake’s Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen’s Rebuke / The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drown

“The Rake’s Song”