This 2004 release is a combination of new and old. Where the Decemberists had been and where they were headed. The A side is made up of the new, a short form concept record called The Tain. This piece is based on what most consider the Illiad of Irish myth, The Tain. While keeping the signature Decemberists sound intact, the band gives a significant nod to such 70's progressive rockers as Deep Purple and Iron Butterfly. The Tain was recorded in an intensive 4-day period with the help of Christopher Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) at the venerable Hall of Justice in Seattle, WA. The B side is a vinyl release of the band's first EP 5 Songs. It is simpler, less adorned, but still a marvelous collection of characters trapped in song, clawing and cooing their way out. Think of these pieces as bookends to the previous two full-length Decemberists releases. Back in print on 180g vinyl.