Sound — 9
The Crane Wife is The Decemberists' best album yet. The sound of their music has improved with their latest release. They continue with their folksy-sounding music, with less emphasized use of the accordion and organ as in their previous albums. The opening song of the album, "The Crane Wife, Pt. 3" begins with a great bass line, and the catchiness of the songs increase from there. Simple guitar chordings are the basis of "Yankee Bayonet" and "Oh Valencia!" The latter is their best song yet, being both extremely catchy and easy to sing along with.
Lyrics — 10
The Decemberists continue with their interesting ability to make you care about the unusual characters that are the centerpiece of most of their songs. The storytelling element prevalent in their previous albums is still there, but slightly more subdued. They seem to have found the perfect blending of storytelling and catchiness. Their epic song "The Island" is their most lyrically deep song, with an entrancing story in three parts. "Come And See" beautifully sets the scene for the following songs. "The Landlord's Daughter" tells the story of a kidnapping and raping, and the haunting "You'll Not Feel The Drowning" is about the following murder. Other themes on the album include songs about war ("When The War Came", "Sons & Daughters") and love ("Yankee Bayonet", "Summersong").
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, The Decemberists continue with being one of the most unique bands out there. They easily top my chart in the folk/alternative genre. I'm normally a huge rock fan, but I can't resist the consistently great tunes that The Decemberists pump out. The greatest songs from the album include "Oh Valencia!" (fiendishly catchy), "The Crane Wife, Pt. 3", and "Yankee Bayonet". I love the depth and complexity of the lyrics set against the simple backdrop of the music. If it got lost or stolen, I'd immediately have to go out and get it again. The album is fantastic, and I would highly recommend it if you enjoy the genre at all.