I first heard about Cranes (not “the Cranes”) because they were opening for the Cure when the Cure was coming to play in my town. I read the review, found it intriguing, and went out and bought their album. Something about their music just seemed so beautiful to me- layers and layers of lush and swirling sound, sometimes ethereal and sometimes loud and harsh, with Allison Shaw's strangely childlike voice (which happens to be her natural, everyday voice). I don't know if I listened to anything else for the entire next year.
I've been listening to them ever since. Appropriately enough, considering that the bands have toured together, this remix of “Jewel” is by Robert Smith. He's managed to work some of the Cure's distinctive sound unobtrusively but effectively into his version of “Jewel.” The song is from the earlier period of the band, when they were considered one of the “shoegazer” rock bands. Later on they took a long break and came back with an updated sound, mostly electronic and usually much less hard-sounding. I like both periods in the band's history, but I like the early stuff more. There is a perfect balance in the contrast between the intensity of the music and the fey strangeness of Allison Shaw's vocals.
Cranes is all about beautiful sadness, the mood of lying down and staring out the window on a rainy day remembering a long-lost love. It's that mood of melancholy without depression, where everything around you seems sharp and fresh and poignant.