The Crane Wife

Studio Album by released in 2006
The Crane Wife's tracklist:
The Crane Wife 3
The Island: Come and See / The Landlord’s Daughter / You’ll Not Feel the Drowning
Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
O Valencia!
The Perfect Crime #2
When the War Came
Shankill Butchers
Summersong
The Crane Wife 1 & 2
Sons & Daughters

The Crane Wife review

The Crane Wife – a new step in band’s evolution

For a few years now, The Desembrists’ stagy pop-folk-rock has been releasing at such moderate indie labels as Hush and Kill Rock Stars. But eventually the band’s talent was noticed by a bigger sample which is called Capitol Records, at which the forth album from The Desembrists, The Crane Wife, was released. The band has started conquering the audience in 2002, constantly making new albums and leading rich concert life. From the very beginning the quintet has occupied its original musical niche. The peculiarity of the band lies in its gift of making beautiful and poetic songs that comprise unusual epic pieces. The Decemberists’ leader and vocalist Colin Meloy ably creates images of his characters and together with the rest of musicians forms interesting chronological sequences of themes within the album. Taking into consideration that The Decemberists gravitate mostly to the pop music, their ideas become even more curious. The Crane Wife is an album that nicely fits into The Decemberists' music world and has roots in earlier works, but sounds better than any of them.

The Crane Wife is a whole book of stories

The Crane Wife is partly a concept album about a Japanese folk tale. More accurately, it’s three-part story told in two tracks, backed by seven self-contained songs. The album establishes a tone with its opener, The Crane Wife, Pt. 3, a mournful conclusion to the romantic story told later in the next to last The Crane Wife, Pts. 1 & 2. But this doesn’t close up the album’s conceptual orientation. The second track The Island: Come And See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel The Drowni, though represented as a one whole, is comprised of three distinct and naturally flowing units, transitioning from Led Zeppelin-like blues rock and organ solos to a gentle ballad combination of strings, piano, and guitar. The Crane Wife represents itself as book of untold stories where Meloy often plays the role of a main hero. He focuses mainly on matters of war and love. On the duet Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then), Meloy takes the part of an errant, possibly dead Civil War soldier while singer-songwriter Laura Veirs appears as his beloved whom he left behind. The songs O Valencia! and Summersong do the same; their main plot is dedicated to lovers patted through death.

Music laced with poetry

The Crane Wife is not an album of poetry set to music, so much as it is an album of music laced with poetry. Meloy's tale telling will always define The Decemberists, but the musical constituent takes as much importance as the poetry, and here the band summons into a tight, intuitive unit. The musicians give each song a particular spark and character, not just reinforcing the lyrics but actively telling a story. Their range allows them to be precociously diverse, but everything fits naturally. The Crane Wife sounds like their most shapely album to date, resembling a spirited story arc in its set-up, rising action, climax, and resolution. But while other Decemberists’ albums have also offered florid lyrics and sonic connectedness, they've never exhibited the same consistency of emotion and depth of character revealed here. The Decemberists is one of those rare bands that improve with every record. And it is rightfully so, because no matter how good their last album was, The Decemberists' track records proves that the next one is going to blow it away. And The Crane Wife is no exception; it's the band's most ambitious, mind-blowing, and best record yet.

(16.10.2006)
Rate review3.81
Total votes - 22


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