By Simon Vozick-Levinson
January 15, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST

Up until this morning, all I knew about the album the Decemberists will release in March is that it’s called The Hazards of Love and it has one convoluted concept. Take it away, press release: “The Hazards Of Love tells the 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…” I really like the Decemberists in all their willful weirdness, but wha?!

Luckily, that same press release from today also included a heads-up to the free MP3 that the band is giving away on their website. “The Rake’s Song” is packed with creepy, violent storytelling and archaic phrasings. (Wouldn’t really be a Decemberists song without those, would it?) But it also sports a hook catchy enough to convince me that this album could be pretty great. Suddenly, I am feeling much more interested in hearing about these shape-shifting animal/criminals, forest queens, &c! Click over to the band’s site, indie rock fans, then let me know if you agree.

More on the Decemberists and quirky rock:
EW Gallery: The Indie Rock 25
EW chatted with lead Decemberist Colin Meloy in 2007
Whitney Pastorek worked a Coyote Ugly reference into her review of a show the Decemberists played with the L.A. Philharmonic
EW gave the Decemberists’ last album, The Crane Wife, a B+ review