The Tain (Decemberists album)

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The Tain
EP by The Decemberists
Released March 4, 2004
Recorded Hall of Justice,
Seattle, Washington,
August 2003
Genre Progressive rock, indie rock, folk rock, baroque pop
Length 18:35
Label Kill Rock Stars
Producer The Decemberists,
Christopher Walla
The Decemberists EP chronology
5 Songs
The Tain
Connect Sets
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Pitchfork Media 7.7/10 link

The Tain is an EP by The Decemberists released in 2004 by Acuarela Discos and in 2005 by Kill Rock Stars. The single 18-plus minute track is in five parts and is considered to be named after the Irish mythological epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, often simply called The Táin. With production help from Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, the Decemberists recorded the EP over four days during which the musicians reportedly slept on the floor between sessions.[citation needed]

The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, who is Colin Meloy's wife and has created artwork for each of the group's albums.

A music video for the track was made entirely from silhouette crepe paper stop motion animation, and is available on The Decemberists: A Practical Handbook DVD and the Pitchfork Media music website.

The lyrics to the Decemberists' song do not directly reference the characters or plot of the Irish epic. Section III contains the only explicit reference, as follows: "the mirror's soft silver tain reflects our last and birthing hour". It is possible that the song was not originally intended to have any connection to the epic itself. The accompanying video by Andy Smetanka does tell the traditional Tain story with silhouettes interspersed by minimal captions, in the manner of a silent movie, but the action in the video proceeds completely independent of the music.[1]


External links[edit]