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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 Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars An elegant, refined, and wholly enjoyable , Crane Wife takes the listener on a folksy journey filled with memorable melodies and soulful ambience.

Blending styles, tones, instrumentation, and dynamics into smoothly engaging compositions, the Decemberists have created a deep palette of sounds for us to enjoy. The combination of acoustic strumming, folk instruments (like the accordian, violin, etc), and the occasional electric guitar power chord is immensely satisfying, immediately grabbing the listener. A great example is the extended track, "The Island", which goes from heavy, sleezy blues to a beautiful acoustic bridge, changing again to good old fashioned organ-led prog, all with a rich, evocative atmosphere. Although categorically a folk album, there are a lot of heavy moments hidden here-- slow tempo, but still quite dark and powerfully played.

From this epic track we're given a folksy and playful duet with "Yankee Bayonet", and then two more upbeat, chipper, almost trip-pop style songs with a great feel. In between is the heavy, atmospheric "When the War Came" and the wonderfully simple and twisted "Shankill Butchers"-- great. "The album comes to a wonderful, emotive close with the sweeping "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" and "Sons and Daughters". The compositions are deceptively simple, but possess a lot of depth to discover. Narry a moment which disengaged me.

A big part of The Crane Wife's success comes from Meloy's oustanding vocals and lyrics. His singing voice is actually quite plain, but possess a sort of wholesome, though subtely tragic tone; great inflection and nuance to his deliveries. His lyrics are even better, again simple, though filled with creative language and wrapped up in poetic imagery. First rate.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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