Rock Band Returns With Epic 19-Minute Song

Indie rock icons The Decemberists dropped a brand new song on Tuesday, and it is characteristically long at 19 minutes, 21 seconds. The new song "Joan in the Garden" is the second single for their new album, they announced, which will be released on June 14. The band is also finally headed back out on tour starting next month, with tickets on sale now.

"Joan in the Garden" is loosely a contemplation of Joan of Arc, and of the influence an iconic figure like her can have on art and on the creative process. It gives fans a glimpse of the upcoming album As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again, and at nearly 20 minutes long it is a more substantial single than anyone was likely hoping for. The band dropped the song, announced the new album and announced their upcoming tour all on Tuesday, when tickets went on sale as well. This is a triumphant return from a six-year hiatus that was not necessarily taken on purpose.

The Decemberists' last studio album was I'll Be Your Girl, released in 2018. They went on tour to promote that album at the time, and and released an additional EP at the end of the year. Their next big plan came in 2020 when they booked a tour to celebrate their 20th anniversary as an ensemble. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped that tour in its tracks and it was eventually canceled altogether.

The time off was clearly not wasted, as the new album is reportedly the longest the band has ever made. That is saying something from this prolific group, who have produced other songs in the 20-minute range before as well. Lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy said that "Joan in the Garden" was actually in the works even before they took their break.

"'Joan in the Garden' has been kicking around as an idea since the I'll Be Your Girl sessions," he said in the band's press release. "I got into a Joan of Arc kick after reading Lydia Yuknavitch's beautifully bats- 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."

As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again is a double album, meaning physical release will include two vinyl records. The four sides of those records divide the album into four thematic quadrants, exploring political and existential concepts across 13 total songs. Meloy stated boldly that this is the best album the band has ever put together.

The new album will be available to purchase or stream starting on June 14. The Decemberists kick off their tour on April 30 in Kingston, New York. They will perform throughout the U.S. until early August. You can see dates, locations and ticket prices on their website now.