Music is pure and primal therapy. Music inspires many happy brushstrokes. It can save your life if not your soul. There are days that only music can bring back from the brink of a black hole.
Sometimes music breaks my heart. Like the Decemberists’ album ‘The Hazards of Love’ recently did.
Skeptical of contemporary folk rock/indie hype at best (who could ever match Radiohead I ask you), I approached this album with the trepidation I usually reserve for long-avoided but should-really-give-it-a-listen albums along the lines of Jethro Tull and other ‘epic classics’. It took some commitment to the process (my number one persistent issue), but after the first bit of suspect medieval meadows and maidens luckily the mood got more intense and riff-fuelled…
By the end of the album my heart showed more than a few cracks and I found myself humming a refrain or two in the days since. The complex blend of fairy tale horror, myth and archetypical love tragedy had me troubled and fascinated simultaneously, which is one of the combinations of emotional elements I identify good art with.
Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast drawings come to mind. Illustrations of a raw and urgent power. I’m thinking messy black and red ink scribbles and swirling sepia washes and ragged faces rising from dense surreal structures.
Alas. There’s a suburban, coral red wall waiting for me to adorn it with a suitable commission; “in blues please and not too detailed and let’s hope my husband will approve”