Photography by Tsuru & The Bride!
We here at TSURURADIO are all VERY excited about the new album, The King Is Dead, coming out by The Decemberists…
We love the new single “Down By The Water“, with it’s saucy blend of Fleetwood Mac, REM, and good ol’ fashion Decemberists. Then we got this little teaser thingy
BUT, before that, before Hazards Of Love, there was the king of all Decemberist albums…
It was a cold night and the snow lay low…
Everytime I hear the opening lines of The Crane Wife I, I get goosebumps. What this little Japanese folk tale has meant to Baby & I, our Tsuru arts & crafts enterprises, just about everything, even the ink embedded in our skins, has been unreal. A simple story about appreciating, trusting, and loving what you have or lose it forever, it’s not a happy ending for the poor sailmaker, but hopefully you and I can learn from his mistakes…
With our anniversary, so begins a new year, and so my brain wandered to this wonderful album to start the next three hundred and some-odd days off proper-style…
What can I say? I love this album. It is our namesake (tsuru is japanese for crane), cranes represent peace, love, mating for life, and are simply beautiful creatures.
A big but.
Yeah, that big….
Over the years, as we have come across little bits & b-sides, seen it live, and listened to it a thousand times, it has evolved. Evolved, dare I say, to where the original release is no longer my favourite version of the album. It’s been… re-tracklisted, tsurufied, if you will, and now, for me at least in this new order it’s a perfect album.
What did we change?
First… the obvious. “After The Bombs” is the perfect denoument. The climatic sing-along of hearing all the bombs fade away of “Sons & Daughters” then the vision of people gathering in the aftermath is, well, just too perfect. Check, done.
The 2nd, slightly more blasphemous. I removed “When The War Came”. Yep. Love the song, pretty bad ass, but it just didn’t fit. Thematically it did, bombs and death and war, are throughout the album, but the sound was off for me. Don’t hate me.
But, and 3rd, I did add more murder! “The Culling Of The Fold”, originally a little too dark for the band to include (according to Meloy during his usual concert banter), is just too perfect after the dancy “Perfect Crime #2”.
The next change is the 2nd more scandalous… We added “The Perfect Crime #1 + The Day I Knew You Would Not Come Back”, yes, the drunken crazy long jam is IN! Aaaand it’s after “Perfect Crime #2” and “Culling”. Good stories go back and forth in time, where in #2 they pulled off the crime, #1 shows us what happened the last time they tried (the drunken sloppiness actually makes it make more sense)…
The result: 1.3 hours of folk, prog, dance, pop, jangle, sing-alongs and sweeping epics with tales of love, lost, war, death, murder, crimes, separation, wanting, and, and bittersweet fade-out finales.
It’s a story book, you old favourite one, worn at the edges, stained, broken spine, randomly lost only to be discovered again in the attic or under your bed, chock full of stories, all different, but all tied back to that Crane Wife I, II, & III aesthetic.
And when Meloy sings that last line, “until it all… starts over again”, you flip back to the front cover, and you do, you start the stories all over again..
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)” (duet with Laura Veirs)
4. “O Valencia!”
5. “The Perfect Crime #2”
6. “Culling Of The Fold”
7. “The Perfect Crime #1 + The Day I Knew You’d Not Come Back”
8. “Shankill Butchers”
10. “The Crane Wife 1 & 2”
11. “Sons & Daughters”
12. “After The Bombs”
Some Decemberists love: Official