The Decemberists were always destined to be the object of our derision, what with their hyper-literate lyrics and absurd tales of goblins inhabiting the world of indie prog rock (is that even a thing?). But not so fast my fren’! These guys are huge for a reason and their first couple of albums were real gems, with songs like “July July” and “California Youth Brigade” and “Red Right Ankle” and “Billy Liar”. Things started to get kind of dicey with 2005’s The Tain, which is what made The Crane Wife LP so enjoyable when it came out.
Ostensibly, The Crane Wife is a collection of tracks based on a Japanese folk tale bearing that same name. It’s pretentious, of course, but that’s what we’ve come to expect of Colin Meloy and there’s a place for this in the world of indie rock. But more importantly, The Crane Wife is a hell of an album when taken as a whole or when taken apart as a bunch of single tracks. It’s definitely one of the best albums of the last ten years and “The Crane Wife, Parts 1 & 2” seems to best exemplify what it does best. Extra points for the fact that it segues immediately into “Sons and Daughters”. Check out “The Crane Wife, Parts 1 & 2” for yourself.