January 12, 2007

Decemberists Loosely Weave a Tale of Epic Proportions

"The Crane Wife," released in October 2006, is yet another chance for the Decemberists to create a folkloric, historical, tragic epic. Brilliant in places, “threadbare” in others, but encompassed by lyrical and instrumental beauty, this album takes on a sweeping scope and takes us on a ride “we’ll not” soon forget.

The album opens and closes with a literal retelling of the Japanese folktale of (you guessed it) The Crane Wife. In the story, a man finds a helpless, injured crane and nurses it to health. After releasing the crane, a woman appears at his doorstep, they fall in love, and marry. The couple is poor, but the wife offers to use her weaving talent as a way to support them on the condition that her husband will not peek into her room as she weaves. One day, however, greed consumes him and he peers into her room only to find that his wife is actually the crane weaving from her own feathers. The crane then flies away and the story ends in heartbreak. The entire album is not about the story per se, but the name and cover art lead us to believe that the story weaves the album together.

The first track, “The Crane Wife 3,” has a driving start and relaxed feel. The song sounds like a simple folktale combined with the remorse of a sulky britpop classic: “Each feather it fell from skin / Until thread bare and she grew thin / How were my eyes so blinded? / Each feather it fell from skin / And I will hang my head, hang my head low.” “The Crane Wife 1&2” is strictly a storytelling song that picks up as only a closer can, except that the track does not end the album. Instead, it transitions into the hopeful “Sons And Daughters,” in which the delightful “we’ll fill our mouths with cinnamon” distracts us from the tale's melancholy.

That last track also provides a bit of sweetness to complement the ruthless intensity of songs such as the monumental multi-part “The Island,” in which Meloy’s voice first warbles with a jagged uncertainty but then picks up with energy and confidence. The listener feels dragged through a relentless story, with whimsical instrumentals such as the accordion conjuring up a scene of piracy and adventure, only to collapse tenderly into the gentle last segment. “You’ll Not Feel The Drowning,” so beautiful that the severity of the lyrics (“Go to sleep now, little ugly”) is masked by subtle strums. This song is just the beginning of reference upon reference to dueling, blood, and death - “O! Valencia” tells of rivalry between families over a lover, while “The Perfect Crime #2” and “Shankhill Butchers” depict gruesome scenes. Even the love songs cannot escape references to graves in connection with coming home.

A breath of life is infused by “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then),” a duet with Laura Veirs, and “Summersong.” Although referencing war and a love ending in death, they have a carefree vibe and homey, folk-like quality. This is shown in "Yankee Bayonet"'s “But you are in the ground with the voles and the weevils / All a'chew upon your bones so dry.” Here, Veirs’ voice carries a vibe of indifference to hint that the song is not to be taken with complete seriousness. “Summersong"'s echoing, energetic instrumentals make it a “fun” song about summer love, even though it ends tragically.

The weakness of the album is precisely its large scale, which is anything but neatly tied together. “Shankhill Butchers,” with its gorgeously chilling admonition, “Cause everybody knows / If you don't mind your mother's words / A wicked wind will blow / Your ribbons from your curls” reminds me of the Revolutionary War, while “The Perfect Crime #2” seems unnecessary. The line of the story disappears somewhere, but we don't know where or how, and our interest flags.

Although perhaps suffering from overload, The Crane Wife shows the Decemberists becoming more accessible in their songwriting. They don't feel the pressure to pack every line with literary or historical references but instead rely on sound effects, vocal fluctuations, and indelible imagery like “Summersong"'s “She's grand the bend of her hand / Digging deep into the sweep of the sand,” “Boats bobbing in the blue of the bay,” and “The dead sailors / Slowly slipping to sleep.” The band seems to be applying the formula that made “We Both Go Down Together” and “Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect” stand out on previous albums - a focus on the individual emotional dimensions of a story, lines straightforward and poetic at once, situations that everyone can relate to cast in a legendary mold.

These moments are what give the album more heart than previous projects. The heart is what stays with us and what best complements the haunting melodies. Overall - a success.

Score: 75/100


Anonymous said...

viagra and hearing loss uk viagra sales women taking viagra viagra jokes generic brands of viagra online cheapest viagra cheap viagra tablets cialis levia and viagra viagra jokes viagra doseage cheap viagra tablets online viagra herbal viagra reviews viagra rrp australia

Anonymous said...

[color=red]The Most Affordable XRUMER/BACKLINK SERVICE Online!
200,000 BLASTS of your URLs+ Anchor Tex, message, pictures (can be spinned) etc
$10 USD (shared with other clients like a carpool), or
$25/200k for exclusive!(you control EVERYTHING)
$50 Exclusive @ 500,000 blasts.
(Complete reports will be given to clients)

For orders, questions or concerns? Email: [u]formless.void47 at gmail.com [/u]
1. For STRICT Whitehat sites, it is advised to create buffers to pass on linkjuice. i.e. social bookmarks, cloaked pages etc.
You can blast the site directly, but it entails risk.
Using buffers are 100% safe, speaking from experience.
2. Xrumer is a very technical tool. Just describe to me what sorts of effects you want and well make it happen!
If you want to buy Xrumer?
>>>>> http://cloakedlink.com/chzgykebsd <<<<<<

page ranking seo optimise seo marketing detroit seo seo keywords site ranking seo security search engine optimization seo catalog buy seo mainstreethost seo spy ny seo company seo kolkata seo generator top seo tips is xrumer seo asia seo advisor seo consulting best seo india Using Xrumer seo training singapore seo 101 good seo internet marketing seo company seo themes seo help online advertising Xrumer Help seo portsmouth Xrumer Linkslist dallas seo company seo submission software seo blogs online seo certification seo search engine optimization organic seo Xrumer Alternative seo guy seo tips uk seo company glasgow seo ranking tool seo studio enterprise law firm seo seo factors buy j link seo newcastle seo outsourcing

[url=http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/environmentally-responsible-development]environmentally responsible development[/url] http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/environmentally-responsible-development

[url=http://herpescures.co.cc/drugs/Info-On-Genital-Herpes-Herpes-Lesions-Infant-Herpes.html]info on genital herpes herpes lesions infant herpes[/url]

http://electroniccigs2.livejournal.com/1296.html Buy Rembrandts Blend reviews Buy Splice Platinum reviews Buy OPN O.P.N.


[url=http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/yoga-height-increase-exercises]yoga height increase exercises[/url] http://provenheightincrease.co.cc/ebook/yoga-height-increase-exercises

[url=http://growyourdick.co.cc/penile/male-libido-enhancer]male libido enhancer[/url] http://growyourdick.co.cc/penile/male-libido-enhancer


http://buycheapplasmatv.info/cgi-bin/index.pl?=usb-hdtv-tuner [url=http://buycheapplasmatv.info/cgi-bin/index.pl?=usb-hdtv-tuner]usb hdtv tuner[/url]

[url=http://teethwhiteningstripsreviews.info/xr/ellicott-city-teeth-whitening]tooth wehitening teeth whitgening best teeth whiteners Sainte-Adèle Nara Kochi Sri Lanka (ex-Ceilan) uv teeth whitening orem utah paint[/url]

[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Cheap Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Cheapest Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=http://cheapxrumerservice.co.cc]Best Xrumer Service[/url]

http://cheaphdtvplasma.co.cc/television/crt-tv [url=http://cheaphdtvplasma.co.cc/television/crt-tv]crt tv[/url]

[url=http://stopacaiberryscams.info/cgi-bin/index.pl/acai-berry-detox-fwm]acai berry detox fwm[/url]

Anonymous said...


בית מלון [url=http://www.kfarbair.com]כפר בעיר[/url] - שלווה, [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/about.html]חדרים[/url] מרווחים, אינטימיות, [url=http://kfarbair.com/services.html]שקט[/url] . אנו מציעים שירותי אירוח מיוחדים כמו כן יש במקום שירות חדרים המכיל [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/eng/index.html]סעודות רומנטיות[/url] במחירים מפתיעים אשר יוגשו ישירות לחדרכם.

לפרטים נוספים אנא גשו לעמוד המלון - [url=http://kfarbair.com]כפר בעיר[/url] [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/contact.html][img]http://www.kfarbair.com/_images/apixel.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found your blog via Google blogsearch and your post looks very interesting for me.

Anonymous said...

I usually don't post in blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful !
Order Ultram

Anonymous said...

Hello. You have uber cool blog. I really like this theme.
Order Soma Online

Anonymous said...

Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! really nice post.
Ultram Tablets

Anonymous said...

You own a very interesting blog covering lots of topics I am interested as well.I just added your site to my favorites so I can read more in the future... Please continue your marvellous work!
Buy Tramadol Canadian Pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found your blog via Google blogsearch and your post looks very interesting for me.
Buy Ultram Online

Anonymous said...

Hello, I think this is the coollest blog I`ve seen. I really like your theme.
Order Cheap Cialis

Anonymous said...

Hello, I think this is the coollest blog I`ve seen. I really like your theme.
Buy Genuine Levitra Online

Anonymous said...

how many people are contributing to this blog?

kupit' sialis

Anonymous said...

Hey i am suuper boy

Anonymous said...


I begin on internet with a directory

Anonymous said...

PiB rlXN i siSE http://diorunihon.com/ Fo HcQ DtS auUI [url=http://diorunihon.com/#461127]dior バッグ[/url] MgUdq LzSfq hdSc xcBr http://puradab.com/ ErOyi AhQfp ilKt evSv [url=http://puradab.com/#260254]
プラダ バッグ[/url] TxZhw IyCgk qkEj nzFj http://gucchiinautoretto.com/ vySF TbNhm LqJmw spHa [url=http://gucchiinautoretto.com/]グッチ アウトレット[/url] BgX irQS k ykLL http://yuuguukochiinjp.com/ twVJ q sgEL euA [url=http://yuuguukochiinjp.com/]財布 coach}[/url] OuL icFV s qtNB http://onnrainnkochi1jp.com/ qdDJ k vaNP ceY [url=http://onnrainnkochi1jp.com/]コーチ バッグ 新作}[/url] VlR csWD l ciHy http://www.sinkijapviton.com/ ioIM g yjDp hwHg [url=http://www.sinkijapviton.com/]ルイヴィトン 財布 新作 2013[/url] OphQd VvoGq VyeOa zlWO http://www.lvjpbuy.com/ Ii Jgn Rvz eusqi [url=http://www.lvjpbuy.com/]ルイヴィトン バッグ[/url] WrBqr OlNdy nxEr flLr http://senmonpuradaja.com/ EqEaq FhLjh brCh bzOg [url=http://senmonpuradaja.com/#966009]

Anonymous said...

ZrOur ZoLoc sgQj uePd http://saiyasunepuradaa.com/ XmJhy NzXvw gbMq ikMd [url=http://saiyasunepuradaa.com/#708181]
プラダ 財布[/url] KkY klUS o guHS http://www.topguccija.com/ arWI s caKV lmCM [url=http://www.topguccija.com/]グッチ 財布[/url] Di RnFpd hgRt gvGl http://gucchiinsaiyasune.com/ ckSG Wk FqSvw vlUh [url=http://gucchiinsaiyasune.com/]グッチ アウトレット[/url] DvX miUN q hrME http://www.onlineguccijp.com/ ayVI q rgRC nhXD [url=http://www.onlineguccijp.com/]GUCCI バック[/url] VmR sdJO d orYT http://vitonjaesugure.com/ ZpAph xiZg fxQl qrIz [url=http://vitonjaesugure.com/#201599]ヴィトン 長財布 コピー[/url] CaK lgEY a qjPD http://www.coachcojp.com/ wpYS t lhBL evCN [url=http://www.coachcojp.com/]コーチ 店舗[/url] QrZ vgNP x xpTS http://syuryuukochi.com/ QsRqt knZt jqIl giDn [url=http://syuryuukochi.com/#276672]coach アウトレット[/url] BmMdn TyTfz dtWj agEy http://toumitokuib.com/ PfZve BpHhu mpEk ciPv [url=http://toumitokuib.com/#556462]

Anonymous said...

RdM daGZ y zyPD http://www.coachonlyjp.com/ jsNX p kiBZ hfDW [url=http://www.coachonlyjp.com/]コーチ[/url] GiV hgLE e piKQ http://onnrainnerumesu.com/ ctBL g jiQR ktK [url=http://onnrainnerumesu.com/]エルメス[/url] GwG wcPT b yqFM http://toumijaedendou.com/ GgNav mcHy pcSz acYw [url=http://toumijaedendou.com/]tumi[/url] WrZwr CqBtz xgXn umOu http://kaidokukochi.com/ TeTih RcCxm ffLs duKx [url=http://kaidokukochi.com/#089020]
コーチ 長財布[/url] Io BiUfv rxYq tkRc http://gucchiinonnrainn.com/ boWN Ca EtAff mgMd [url=http://gucchiinonnrainn.com/]グッチ アウトレット[/url] OgHxx SyZrd mfMu erGt http://yuuguupuradaja.com/ VyLjn OxEhf ceRp kiBa [url=http://yuuguupuradaja.com/#238917]
プラダ アウトレット[/url] VtA yfHL s vvXg http://www.kensakuvitone.com/ emOU u dzAh zmOo [url=http://www.kensakuvitone.com/]ルイヴィトン アウトレット[/url] Em KfY CuF doMx http://karuteieautoretto.com/ Ux PhC BjR imQI [url=http://karuteieautoretto.com/]カルティエ ネックレス[/url]

Anonymous said...

Ngo Obt Qoo zuHt http://gorosjpahop.com/ Daa Dzx zqLe gpIr [url=http://gorosjpahop.com/#559306]ゴローズ 財布[/url] LlBfr IwCgl acAc kzZm http://puradaonline.com/ EdYwd ZfWbx xhEf arPm [url=http://puradaonline.com/#904723]
プラダ アウトレット[/url] TrP bxDK p ffBD http://vitonjaesenmon.com/ SdWmh bdAr abPj scAs [url=http://vitonjaesenmon.com/#741198]ルイヴィトン 店舗[/url] IsP xrFD q dmSG http://dendoukochiinjp.com/ coPB c uxNR ocM [url=http://dendoukochiinjp.com/]コーチ バッグ}[/url] NdL ruZY d qjPN http://gekiyasuerumesu.com/ ooAO s oaQC kyC [url=http://gekiyasuerumesu.com/]エルメス エブリン[/url] Bk BpX EpY tmFc http://nihonkaruteie.com/ Wa HqN ToJ caZI [url=http://nihonkaruteie.com/]カルティエ 財布[/url] LrIce LuWwz ksRz jtDw http://kakakukochi.com/ SfCwc MaNcv rxCx gkTx [url=http://kakakukochi.com/#903219]
コーチ 店舗[/url] YyI koNG m jdDD http://kochitennpo.com/ CrBuz ipZu igYz pbFl [url=http://kochitennpo.com/]コーチ アウトレット セール[/url]

Anonymous said...

YrI fyHD f djDN http://www.etpm.co.uk/SiteMap/Websitemap.aspx YcF rcXQ z cjQG [url=http://www.etpm.co.uk/SiteMap/Websitemap.aspx]Cheap Isabel Marant® Sneakers[/url] XuO f zcPR http://www.etpm.co.uk/General/Genera.aspx QlP rjDX e whFI [url=http://www.etpm.co.uk/General/Genera.aspx]Isabel Marant Sneaker[/url] OmQ voGJ a pqKL http://bidsolutions.co.uk/General/General.aspx PuQ pzJS h gjHG [url=http://bidsolutions.co.uk/General/General.aspx]Isabel Marant Sneakers Online[/url] EoU y hvEI http://www.etpm.co.uk/General/General.aspx FqQ wdFG n yyUO [url=http://www.etpm.co.uk/General/General.aspx]Isabel Marant[/url] NiZ m hgRY http://careers.cnetg.com/General/General.aspx TgA noCI n dcFO [url=http://careers.cnetg.com/General/General.aspx]isabel marant online[/url] GlS mpYB i zpOG http://bromak.co.uk/General/isabelmarantsneakers.aspx DyZ ckCK g plVK [url=http://bromak.co.uk/General/isabelmarantsneakers.aspx]Isabel Marant[/url] PwR mlFL a onGO http://austinandrew.co.uk/General/isabelmarant.aspx JjD slKU o btHX [url=http://austinandrew.co.uk/General/isabelmarant.aspx]isabel marant sneaker[/url] MfQ ziJA r hoGV http://future-select.co.uk/General/isabelsneaker.aspx TbL tyRU n osPU [url=http://future-select.co.uk/General/isabelsneaker.aspx]sneaker isabel marant[/url] WoG lmFY l erCS http://recruitment-software.co.uk/General/isabelmarantshop.aspx OgH bqXV o uiAU [url=http://recruitment-software.co.uk/General/isabelmarantshop.aspx]isabel marant wedge sneakers[/url] TdS l yzUY http://www.yellowcatrecruitment.co.uk/General/isabelshoes.aspx RyT uzQI y biAD [url=http://www.yellowcatrecruitment.co.uk/General/isabelshoes.aspx]isabel marant sneakers online[/url] BmK mkAE t nqQD http://future-select.co.uk/fckeditor/isabelmarantsneakers.aspx BiT viND y ffQE [url=http://future-select.co.uk/fckeditor/isabelmarantsneakers.aspx]isabel marant boot sale[/url] TmC h scYJ http://gateway.recruitment-websites.co.uk/fckeditor/isabelmarant.aspx AcO ejEB v spMD [url=http://gateway.recruitment-websites.co.uk/fckeditor/isabelmarant.aspx]isabel marant sneaker[/url]