Skip to content

The Tain – The Decemberists

The Decemberists The Tain

The Tain

(2004), 8/10
A one song EP recorded in two days might seem negligible, but the one song that constitutes The Tain is a genuine tour de force, an eighteen minute, five part, suite based on an ancient Welsh legend. If that sounds like a throwback to the heyday of seventies progressive rock, that’s precisely correct – The Tain is the Decemberists’ equivalent to Genesis’ ‘Supper Ready’ or the first half of Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick As A Brick’.

If a comparison to canonised works by men with much longer beards seems hyperbolic, The Tain is an extremely coherent, memorable concept record that meets its goals perfectly. The Decemberists have the structure and feeling of the progressive rock suite down pat; rolling through an ominous opening section, head banging second part, mournful third part, fruity fourth part, and ending with a suitably rousing climax. The beauty of such a long song is that it allows scope for much more extremity than on regular four minute songs – for instance, a huge dramatic climax that wouldn’t be feasible in a four minute pop song, unless you’re Celine Dion, is necessary here and it’s executed brilliantly. The electric riffs of Part II are far heavier than anything else in The Decemberists’ catalogue, with some great fills from drummer Rachel Blumberg, while Blumberg also gets a sole writing credit and vocal on the fourth section.

The story’s difficult to follow, and you probably don’t want to pay too much for a sub-twenty minute EP, The Tain is a great little record that’s quintessentially Decemberists, but which breaks new ground for them and which they’d explore further in 2009’s The Hazards of Love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Voice Of Unreason

Music Reviews/Gigs/Lists/Features/Video - oh my!

MyYellowFeather

Your guide to style! 💛

Old Rope

"It looked like rope, old rope"

The French Inhaler's Album Reviews

How are you meant to make your way in the world, when you're not cut out for working?

Desert Island Masterpieces

Just a 19-Year-Old Who Loves Stellar Music

mostlyacousticsteve

acoustic music reviews

Living a Beautiful Life

~ Short Stories, Flights of Fancy and Everyday Anecdotes ~

The Nerd Cave

¨You´ve taken your first step into a larger world.¨ -Obi-Wan Kenobi

Hack's Back Pages

Ruminations on Musical Milestones, 1955-1990

%d bloggers like this: