Editors’ Notes The Decemberists’ ornate, highly literary folk-pop reached peak clarity on The Crane Wife, their first for a major label. Anchored by a song cycle based on an old Japanese folktale, the album (whose other subjects include the Siege of Leningrad and a Protestant paramilitary group in Northern Ireland) is a wildly ambitious undertaking, more indebted to Jethro Tull than indie rock, peppered by bouzouki and hurdy-gurdy and other obscure, alluring sounds that helped foster the band’s deserved cult audience.

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  • O Valencia!
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