Wow. Just wow. This is awful on a scale of metaphysical awful-tude I can barely describe to you. I read a lot about these guys 'challenging their audience' and 'not selling out'. Somehow following up a career of very listenable songs laden with faux-intellectualism and over the top bullshit encyclopedia referencing with a bullshit concept album about some simp farting around with queens and forest nymphs means you're staying true to yourselves.
It says a lot that I had to debate whether to bash these guys as 'wimp rock' or 'nerd rock'. I get the feeling these guys are now catering exclusively to people who come home, don capes, sit down at their PC and assume the role of a 63rd level dwarf-mage.
Where once I had hope that these guys would develop into something large and awesome (in the direction of the very good song 'Sons and Daughters'), they have folded in on themselves into something small, inward looking and suitable for high school drama classes. I can just see some pile of nerds somewhere putting this ridiculous piece of music on as some sort of 'see how arty we are' nose-thumbing at the football team. F U, nerds.
Also worth noting, the Pitchfork review features the following sentence: 'The Hazards of Love, inspired by UK folkie Anne Briggs' 1966 EP of the same name, has thick stoner-metal sludge and peat-bogged prog-folk arpeggios.' Seriously, man? Are trying to outdo the band? At long last, have you no shame, sir? At least they gave it a 5.7, about the equivalent measure on the Richter scale this shitstorm clocks in at.