Concept CDs–albums with a storyline that continues with each track–fall into one of two categories. There’s “good” and then there’s…confusing. It’s very easy to lose the plot of a concept album and often the tracks are not strong enough to stand alone when removed from the rest of the album.
One band that has been able to succeed in this genre is my personal favorite, The Decemberists. The band is now working on their next concept album, “Hazards of Love” which is set for a spring release. In sixteen continuous narrative tracks, Hazards of Love chronicles the love story of Margaret and William who are thwarted by woodland creatures and an evil rake. (That’s a sentence that I honestly never thought I’d write…)
Originally, lead singer Colin Meloy was collaborating with Spring Awakening director Michael Mayer to adapt this album’s story for the stage. However, when it became apparent that the story of Margaret and William would not adapt to the theatre very well, Meloy settled for the album alone.
To tide me over until Spring, I’m rocking menswear-inspired pieces. In promoting their latest album, the troupe sported three piece suits and formal attire every time they took the stage in an attempt to bring a little class back to live performances. The Decemberists validated the resurgence of vests for me—something about three piece suits is so freakin’ cool. This Fred Flare Cocoa Tweed Vest ($36) is perfect for toughening up any frilly holiday cocktail/party dress. I’d try to follow organist Jenny Conlee’s style lead but I just don’t think I can pull off shoulder pads the way she does.