The Crane Wife

The Crane Wife

by The DecemberistsThe Decemberists


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The Decemberists have carved out a unique aesthetic. Beginning with their first album, 2002's Castaways and Cutouts, Colin Meloy and crew sang in ornate vocabulary of archaic characters; they peopled their albums with child princesses, lusty sailors, and chimney sweeps and set the tales to lilting folk-rock orchestration. Meloy's gift for memorable, lovely melodies made what could be rather precious into something rather brilliant. All those characteristic elements can be found on The Crane Wife (the Portland, Oregon, band's fourth album and first for a major label), but so can some surprises. The nearly 13-minute "The Island" is unabashedly prog-rock: Its multi-part structure, dramatic electric guitar arpeggios, heavy keyboards, and elaborate strings place it in the tradition of hoary bands like Gentle Giant, and it's closer to the Decemberists' 2004 EP The Tain than to anything else in their catalog. "When the War Came," "The Crane Wife 1 and 2," and "The Perfect Crime #2" are similarly weighty and/or extravagant. But The Crane Wife also includes some of the Decemberists' most catchy and accessible pop tunes: "The Crane Wife 3" (based on a Japanese folk tale), the jangly "Oh Valencia!" and the gradually building "Sons and Daughters" may be Meloy's best songs yet. It's good to hear the band expanding their horizons: They had begun to run the risk of niche-marketing to English majors and history buffs.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/03/2006
Label: Capitol
UPC: 0094635398427
catalogNumber: 53984
Rank: 86956

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Decemberists   Primary Artist
John Moen   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Eyvind Kang   Violin,Viola
Nate Query   Percussion,Electric Bass,Cello,Background Vocals,Upright Bass
Chris Walla   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Laura Veirs   Vocals,Talking
Ezra Holbrook   Background Vocals
Chris Funk   Dulcimer,Banjo,Bouzouki,Guitar,Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Hurdy-Gurdy
Colin Meloy   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jenny Conlee   Percussion,Piano,Accordion,Glockenspiel,Hammond Organ,Background Vocals,Pump Organ,Wurlitzer,Moog Bass
Steve Drizos   Hand Drums

Technical Credits

Tucker Martine   Producer
Chris Walla   Producer
Colin Meloy   Composer
Carson Ellis   Illustrations
Dawn Barger   Management

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