Wednesday 8 July 2015

The Island (The Decemberists, 2006)

From time to time, The Decemberists go epic and this is the case with "The Island", a three part suite included in their "The Crane Wife" album, released in 2006. Moreover, this track is one of the proggest compositions in their whole career, both for its unpredictable architecture and its vintage sounds. A slight acid vein, some good and warm riffs and the usual Colin Meloy's perfect vocal performance are likely to be the first things a prog mind will pick up in the first section, but a further exploration reveals more good reasons to love "The Island".

Another excellent cover art by Carson Ellis, Colin Meloy's wife.

Take the discreet and effective chorus and its vocal harmonies and the oh so seventies keyboard arpeggios plus acoustic guitar touches of the second section: what's that? A "Nursery Cryme" outtake? For sure, it's the greatest tribute The Decemberists ever payed to the Golden era of prog. The third and last part comes back to the folk mood and a relaxed, fresh, old fashioned ballad fills the air. The final viola touch has a medieval scent and enriches such a bare and touchy melody. Believe me, this really is a great song!

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