The Crane Wife Watercooler

Decemberists’ The Crane Wife (out 10/3 on that hot new indie Capitol) gets its name from a Japanese folk tale for children. The press release says: “The instruments chart a far-flung course through multiple musical genres into a full-blown masterpiece.”

No joke. The Crane Wife is a masterpiece.

The epic 12-minute “The Island” kicks off with two-minute Pink Floyd space jam, then alternates between organ freakout and finger-picked madrigal. So prog, so awesome and unexpected. “Perfect Crime #2″ rips the riff from Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” but, you know, of course it’s about rape and murder. And “Summersong” is not summery so much as a nautical tale of doomed love punctuated by an accordian hook and Colin’s sing-song inflections. Stereogum fave Laura Veirs guests on “Yankee Bayonet,” a gorgeous duet suited to two poets: “Oh my love though our bodies may be parted / Though our skin may not touch skin / Look for me with the sun bright sparrow / I will come on the breath of the wind,” they croon in unison. Elsewhere, the Mozisms and morbidity one expects from Mr. Meloy abound. Overall, less poppy than Picaresque (no obvious “Sixteen Military Wives” single), but Crane Wife is as classic if not moreso.

We know how Colin feels about P2P leaks, so no MP3s for you! But thirty second samples are streaming at number of online retailers. Windows Media links:

1. The Crane Wife 3
2. The Island, Come and See, The Landlord’s Daughter, You’ll Not Feel the Drowning
3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
4. O Valencia!
5. The Perfect Crime #2
6. When the War Came
7. Shankhill Butchers
8. Summersong
9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2
10. Sons & Daughters

Let’s say, hypothetically, you heard the album. Is not it so fucking awesome?