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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Crane Wife

So I just got the new Decemberists CD in the mail: their major label debut *The Crane Wife* which will see release October 3rd on Capitol. I was late in coming to this band as I often am due to the sheer volume of music out there the fact that initial listens left me cold. Too theatrical and disingenuous I thought. But after listening to their third full-length *Picaresque*, the literary nerd inside of me eventually won out. *Crane Wife* is a rock opera of sorts, drawing from a Japanese folk tale for inspiration. There are several variations of the story, but the basic premise is that a man who lives by the sea finds a sick crane on his doorstep and returns the creature to health before releasing it. The next day, he then finds a young woman on his doorstep, falls in love with her and they marry. She sets about making a sail and asks him not to ever visit her while she is weaving. He does not obey her wishes and discovers that she is actually the crane. Because he violates the promise, she flies away. The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy re-imagines this tale on a grander scale, adding, as he is wont to do, some murder into the mix. The album sees the band move from “quirky” to ambitious. The theatrics are there, but broader, grander and classier. I doubt you’ll find the band in costume on their upcoming tour (dates listed below). The songs are epic and beautiful, the language simpler and less florid than that on previous releases. The music has never sounded better – it’s a whirlwind of baroque pop with more seventies rock flourishes than one might expect.

08-23 Seattle, WA - Woodland Park Zoo
08-26 Salem, OR - Oregon State Fair
10-17 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
10-18 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
10-19 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
10-21 Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
10-22 Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theater
10-24 Austin, TX - Stubb's10-25 Dallas, TX - Gypsy Ballroom
10-26 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
10-27 Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
10-29 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10-30 Washington, DC - 9:30
Club10-31 Northampton, MA - Calvin Theater
11-01 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
11-03 New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
11-04 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theater
11-05 Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis
11-06 Toronto, Ontario - Kool Haus
11-07 Pontiac, MI - Clutch Cargo
11-09 Cleveland, OH - Agora Theater
11-10 Columbus, OH - Lifestyle Communities Pavilion
11-11 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theater
11-12 Minneapolis, MI - First Avenue
11-14 Denver, CO - Paramount Theater
11-16 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theater
11-17 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theater
11-18 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom

Sounds intriguing...I too have not paid a whole lot of attention to them, but had them categorized as one of those bands I wanted to try to listen to more.

p.s. I like your mini-reviews!
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