The Crane Wife

by The Decemberists

Original Release Date: 2007-01-29

The Crane Wife

Known for sepia-toned songs about barrow boys and chimney sweeps, doomed lovers and pirates, Colin Meloy and company posses 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.


  1. The Crane Wife 3 (4:18)
  2. The Island: Come And See - The Landlord’s Daughter - You’ll Not Feel The Drowning (12:26)
  3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) (4:18)
  4. O Valencia! (3:47)
  5. The Perfect Crime #2 (5:33)
  6. When The War Came (5:06)
  7. Shankill Butchers (4:39)
  8. Summersong (3:31)
  9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2 (11:19)
  10. Sons & Daughters (5:13)

Apple Music


The Decemberists - O Valencia

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Release Information

Key Value
Wikipedia URL
Format Vinyl 2× LP Album
Label Capitol Records
Catalog Number C1 0946 3 53984 1 0
Notes Recorded at Kung Fu Bakery in Portland, Oregon between April and June, 2006. Mixed at BJB. Mastered at SAE Mastering in Phoenix, AZ. ℗© 2006 Capitol Records, Inc. Variation: Gatefold sleeve with different catalogue, matrix numbers and colour of labels
Discogs URL The Decemberists - The Crane Wife