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The Tain - EP

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Album Review

After releasing two solid albums of British folk-inspired library-pop, it's only fitting that the Oregon-based collective the Decemberists would construct a nearly 20-minute EP based on an epic tale concerning a violent cattle raid in pre-Christian Ireland. If anything, Tain is the indie rock generation's "Court of the Crimson King," a narrative that's as isolating as it is compelling, especially when filtered through the surprisingly Black Sabbath-inspired song cycle. Composed of five movements, parts one and two roll in like an outtake from Deep Purple's Machine Head, part three brings together some of the more melodious and mournful moments of Pink Floyd's The Wall, part four introduces some delectable balladry from drummer Rachel Blumberg and part five brings back the Hammond B3 for a true progressive rock encore, all bookended by the musings of a character known simply as "The Crone." While not as Dio as it sounds, there is a certain lust for tall tales and gentry high-speak needed to become fully immersed. For all of its bombast and esoteric subject matter, Tain is raw, engaging, and bristling with an electricity that's been missing from this enigmatic collective of bibliophiles' previous releases.


Formed: 2000 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Led by Montana native Colin Meloy, the Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper-literate pop songs that draw heavily from late-'60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention and Pentangle and the early-'80s college rock grandeur of the Waterboys and R.E.M. The band's initial lineup also included drummer Ezra Holbrook, bassist Nate Query, keyboardist/accordionist Jenny Conlee, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk. Frontman Meloy had previously devoted some time to an alternative country group before...
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The Tain - EP, The Decemberists
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