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The Decemberists - The Crane Wife CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.99 | 161 ratings

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3 stars This was the band that I had never heard the name before until a colleague of mine, Rustam Effendy, visited Singapore and returned back home handing over this CD to me. Many many thanks, Rustam! At first spin, I was not quite impressed with the music as it contained a bit of folk music with many acoustic guitar and song orientated music. I guessed the band must be very strong in lyrical passages. I only occasionally spun the CD until I found this band was featured at this site. I tried to understand the progginess of the music, because this is a prog site with main focus on discussing prog music around the globe.

First off, on composition, this band offers a stream of music which revolves around tale using melody that represents the storyline with all the ups and downs, bright and dark passages. You might expect the melody-line is something like most of folk-based music is all about including those that Dylan or Joan Baez have done. The music is arranged with balanced acoustic as well as electric instruments like Hammond organ. However, the contribution of acoustic guitar is quite dominant almost in every single song. The music harmonies are good in almost every segment, producing clear and transparent vocal line and good rhythm section resulting from the sounds of acoustic guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. The music structure is much straight forward which made me questioning why this is considered as prog?

All songs contained in this album are easy to digest and they can be categorized as easy listening songs. The vocal line is really clear in conveying the message as required by the lyrics. "The Island" is an excellent song with good arrangements and strong melody as well as harmonies. The intro part presents the arrangement in its simplest way that makes the song quite easy to digest enjoy. So simple the introduction is that we can enjoy the music especially in its "groove". When the music enters its lyrical passages "There is an island in the sun ." accompanied by the acoustic guitar fills, it sounds great. "Come and see .. come and see .. yeaaaahhh ..".. This epic song is interesting and very enjoyable.

"The Perfect Crime No 2" is another song with good melody and arrangement with upbeat tempo. For some reason, the music reminds me to The Police (especially "Canary in the Coal Mine" song) but with more on acoustic touch. It's the rhythm section which flows like a reggae music with obvious beats. The insertion of organ sound during the song is really nice. My favorite track from this album is "Shankill Butchers" which to me sounds very simple plus nice melody and clear cut singing style. The opening part is just a vocal line accompanied by soft acoustic guitar rhythm. The next song "Summersong" is also a good one especially with its psychedelic nuance.

The songwriting skill is very good as all songs were written to represent passages of the storyline. Overall, this album is good. For those who love the music in acoustic setting, this is for you. The production quality in terms of sonic quality and packaging are good as well. Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 3/5 |


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