The Decemberists Release 19-Minute “Joan In The Garden” From New Album As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

The Decemberists Release 19-Minute “Joan In The Garden” From New Album As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

Twenty years ago this month, after rising to indie celebrity with a pair of well-received albums in quick succession, the Decemberists released The Tain, an EP comprising one nearly 19-minute song split into five movements. “The Tain” leaned hard into the literary folk-rock band’s prog-rock tendencies, foregrounding the hard-hitting electric guitars that only rarely popped up on their normal albums. I found it absolutely delightful at the time, and I’m happy to report that it still holds up.

Today, the band is back with an even longer song. “Joan In The Garden,” which extends beyond the 19-minute mark, is the closing track on the newly announced As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again, the Decemberists’ first album in six years. “Burial Ground,” the group’s comeback single from February, is the first song on the tracklist. The album is billed as the band’s first intentional, proper double-LP, split into four themed sides. It’s once again produced by longtime Decemberists collaborator Tucker Martine after some scrapped attempts by Colin Meloy to produce it himself in Martine’s studio.

As for “Joan In The Garden,” the new gargantuan Decemberists song inspired by Joan Of Arc (the person, not the band): This one’s more of a slow burn than “The Tain,” and it gets into some unexpectedly sick ambient noise in the second half before breaking out the monster riffs. Meloy is back in his bag — or should I say his burlap sack? His statement on the song:

“Joan in the Garden” has been kicking around as an idea since the ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ sessions. I got into a Joan of Arc kick after reading Lydia Yuknavitch’s beautifully batshit novel ‘The Book of Joan.’ I wanted to make my own version of Joan — but the song that came was as much about the creative process as it was about the actual woman, about angelic visitation and creative visitation and the hallucinogenic quality of both.

Listen below.

01 “Burial Ground”
02 “Oh No!”
03 “The Reapers”
04 “Long White Veil”
05 “William Fitzwilliam”
06 “Don’t Go To The Woods”
07 “The Black Maria”
08 “All I Want Is You”
09 “Born To The Morning”
10 “America Made Me”
11 “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind”
12 “Never Satisfied”
13 “Joan In The Garden”

As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again is out 6/14 on YABB/Thirty Tigers. Pre-order it here.

Holly Andres

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