DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Oct 30 2007

CD Recommendation – The Crane Wife – The Decemberists

by Chris S

I make a habit at the end of each year to go through the “best of” lists for music albums and for movies.  I don’t always find a new favorite artist or film, but I almost always discover something new or interesting.  I had heard of the The Decemberists from a Fresh Air interview on NPR, but had not heard their music, and when I saw The Crane Wife on a “best of 2006” list, I decided to place a hold request on it through the library.  After a few weeks of waiting, I finally brought home the album and listened to it with my wife.  We were both big music fans in the early 1990s of bands like the Smiths, 10,000 Maniacs, and Georgia’s own R.E.M. and we were immediately reminded of all three.  The Crane Wife‘s songs are deceptively catchy and melodic, though the lyrics are all of fable, history, and tragedy.  The title track is a trilogy of songs based on a Japanese folk tale, “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)” is a dialogue between lovers separated by the Civil War, and “O Valencia!” tells of a Romeo and Juliet-type tragedy.

Between the unique use of narrative lyrics, lead singer Colin Meloy’s affected brogue-like intonations, and guitar hooks that recall early R.E.M. and Fleetwood Mac, The Crane Wife is a worthwhile album to listen to again and again.

The Decemberists’ official website:  www.decemberists.com.

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