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The Crane Wife

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Editors’ Notes

Known for sepia-toned songs about barrow boys and chimney sweeps, doomed lovers and pirates, Colin Meloy and company possess the most unlikely aesthetic in indie pop. But on The Crane Wife, the band toys with a different sort of nostalgia. A series of arena-style power chords ring out at the end of the sublime opener, "The Crane Wife 3," an oddly sequenced finale to a three-part song cycle for a Japanese folktale. Those chords presage the head-scratcher to come: yet another themed song cycle,"The Island," nearly thirteen minutes long and enthusiastically channeling the ghosts of early Yes, Pink Floyd, even (seriously) Jethro Tull. Studded with swirling organ fills and Meloy's impassioned yips, this is prog rock at its most earnest and grandiose, and the song grows on you - as does the album's other curiosity, the Steely Dan-style white-boy funk of "The Perfect Crime." Not every song is such a departure: witness the bubbly "O Valencia," or "Yankee Bayonet," a lovely, lovelorn duet with Laura Veirs. . The Crane Wife shows a band in transition: dark, brooding, and ambitious.

Customer Reviews


The right music for many moods. Always a lift.

My Soul

This album is my soul. It is such a perfect fit of different moods and stories that are portrayed in such a wonderful way. "Sons and Daughters" definitely stands out among these songs and is so beautifully sung. This whole album just makes me feel completed!

A trip to heaven

this album is amazing!! i want this to be played while i go to heaven!


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...
Full Bio