221. The Decemberists – “The Crane Wife”

I somehow missed this CD last week when it should have got a review before J.Denver. Anyway, better late than never.

This album would have followed on very smoothly from my Death Cab reviews.

The bands have some commonalities in sound, building layered tracks around a slightly feminine male vocal and some jangly guitar.  The Decemberists are much more enamoured with more acoustic instruments however.

The band also take a stronger storytelling approach.  There a several epic, multipart songs on here.  Each are captivating and literary. They have a bit of the Nick Cave’s about them in terms of presenting an imagined world of criminal capers, of marauding bandits, maidens and ship journeys.

The songwriting here is breathtaking at times. It is pretty lame to simply list rhyming couplets as evidence of such acumen, but I do love this one:

By land, by sea, by dirigible
We’ll leave our tracks untraceable

That’s brave stuff, but it works. These guys are true artistes, but without forgetting that you need to entertain and engage.  There is nothing to difficult on here – just tracks that sound great in the background, and even better when you pay attention. Here’s a testament to their balls –  a video of epic Sabotage proportions:

File under: The build something substantial with that crane

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