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The Decemberists - The Crane Wife CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.99 | 161 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I bought this one on the back of Hazards of Love, one of the finest LP's I have purchased in recent months. I am very glad that I did, for whilst I do not think that it cries out "classic" and "essential" in the same manner as its successor, this is still a mighty fine piece of contemporary American folk prog, and in the context of what followed, a clear and unmistakable marker as to the heights to which the band were aspiring.

The story of the album itself is based upon an old Japanese folk tale, and if you research band leader Colin Meloy's interviews on the subject, you will find a fascinating read.

This album is a pure folk fan's joy. That American folk is infused with prog sensibilities, and, combined, it creates a marvellous story, sound scape, and some quite exceptional playing from a group of very talented musicians. For no better example of how to create an acoustic, modern folk pastiche, look no further than the epic track The Island.

Then, if you prefer a jauntier ride, with magnificent female vocals mixed with the main Meloy story, listen to what follows, Yankee Bayonet.

At the heart of everything, though, as with Hazards Of Love, is the spellbinding storytelling. I don't think that Colin Meloy would ever win any major awards for his vocals. However, saying that, his style and ability to tell his stories are nothing less than ideally suited to the works he has written and performed.

I awarded Hazards Of Love the full 5 stars. This is not as essential in the terms of how we rate albums on this site. It is, however, nothing less than an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, and fully deserves a very strong 4 star rating.

lazland | 4/5 |


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