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The Decemberists - The Crane Wife CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.99 | 165 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'The Crane Wife' - The Decemberists (7/10)

My discovery of this album was a very unlikely one at that. A good friend of mine (also an avid music listener) lent me this album, however unsure of whether I would like it or not. Being that she is a fan of indie/alternative music and not prog, I was certainly surprised to find a twelve minute suite on here, and strong influences of classic prog. The first song (while still thinking it was another indie album) I actually really liked, despite the fact that the entire indie genre has never really done it for me, with the exception of a few crossovers with the realm of post-rock.

Anyways, on topic of the music, Colin Meloy has a voice that sounds like it was pulled straight out of the British Isles, despite the band's US origin. Theres a very strong vocal resonance with him, and a unique, distinctive tone. He is the heart and soul of the band, and his voice is one of the defining factors about the band

'The Crane Wife' revolves around two song cycles, the first being the eponymous title track (which is a suite divided into three parts over two tracks) and 'The Island,' an epic based on 'The Tempest' by Shakespeare and the reason I first had a prog notion about the band's direction.

While the music is right to be considered 'prog folk,' a lot of the songs still use warm electric guitar sounds, and even parts with some fair overdrive. I recollect reading a review calling 'The Crane Wife' the 'best Jethro Tull album since 'Heavy Horses.' While that's obviously meant all in good fun, the similarity and influence to that band is incredibly strong, and anyone even vaguely familiar with the two groups should recognize at least some correlation between the two. It doesn't necessarily hurt the band's sense of creativity (after all, every band in history has been influenced or inspired by something) but it should give anyone who isn't already experienced with the music of The Decemberists.

At first few listens to the album, I really loved it. While after growing greatly familiar with the album and all the musical twists and turns it has to offer, the lasting appeal isn't quite as good as the initial effect (which is great) but it's still a very good album that's alright to listen to once in a while. The initial effect is reason enough to purchase this album on it's own however; I found myself captivated by it for the first few weeks, and don't regret listening to it, despite the fact it's lost it's mind blowing quality. 'The Crane Wife' is recommended for fans of Prog Folk, Indie music, and of course; Jethro Tull!

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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