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The Decemberists - The Crane Wife CD (album) cover


The Decemberists


Prog Folk

3.99 | 165 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The Decemberists "The Crane Wife" is certainly a grower with infectious melodies and accomplished musicianship. At first listen it felt a bit too commercial and only 3 tracks stood out for me. However, on subsequent listens the melodies grew on me and I really liked the whole album. At times it gets way too repetitive, repeating phrases or titles of songs over and over, and choruses are repeated over the top until they are drilled into your brain. A prime offender is The Perfect Crime #2, which over uses the word 'Perfect' to ad nausea. However, there are some amazing tracks here with progressive musicianship.

The best track is undoubtedly The Island, with an innovative structure and featuring thunderous Hammond in the instrumental section. The time sigs interchange with specific mood swings, and the whole piece flows lucidly with organic musicianship and arrangement. This is the one track to get hold of to hear them at their best. The female and male trade off in Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) is a nice treat and quite emotional in places.

A lot of the thematic material centres on bleak themes, the booklet demonstrates this in particular, but the music is given an uplifting treatment overall, particularly due to the tempo and the pleasant folky acoustic passages. The concept is heavy and open to interpretation though the Crane Wife is definitely the focus; a crane that symbolises the greed of a husband, and his wife in fact produces her husband's fortune by spinning her own feathers into magnificent clothes that he sells in order to finance his extravagant lifestyle. The ending is sad depicting the wife flying off to escape her husband's demands and she will never come back.

The Crane Wife part 1 and 2 has a very uplifting beat and melody despite the melancholy themes. The final track, Sons and Daughters, is another highlight where the phrase, "hear all the bombs fade away", is repeated as the piece builds to a crescendo. The finale works well and sums up the captivating journey. This is not the type of music I regularly turn to, but as a good example of folk prog I can recommend this album.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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