The Decemberists – As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

The Decemberists’ hipsterdom is well known, appearing not just on 'Portlandia' but on 'The Simpsons' episode that featured the cast of 'Portlandia'....
The Decemberists : As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again
7.8 YABB
2024 
The Decemberists : As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

The Decemberists’ hipsterdom is well known, appearing not just on Portlandia but on The Simpsons episode that featured the cast of Portlandia. It’s rooted in their literate throwback to the nineteenth century (band name on down), indie-folk for your steampunk movie. While they’ve ranged outside of that at times, they’re very Decemberists on As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again.

This is a Decemberists record that starts with a catchy, bright piece about having a party at the “Burial Ground”. It’s followed by Spanish tragedy in “Oh No!”, working the fields on “The Reapers”, the very memorable Western love & loss “Long White Veil”, backwoods tale of “William Fitzwilliam”, and folk-haunt “Don’t Go To the Woods”. In many ways, the first half of As It Ever Was is The Decemberists doing The Decemberists at their best – yes, what you might expect if you know the group, but an excellent version of what you might expect, and you’d never expect it from anyone else.

Admittedly, some of the charm wears off in the back half of So It Will Be Again, now feeling a bit ‘standard Decemberists’, but there is the uplift of “Born To the Morning” and the fun, wry country “America Made Me”. It all ends with the nearly twenty-minute closing track “Joan In the Garden”, which is an epic of different songs put together akin to a rock opera. Yes, you can totally see The Decemberists doing something like this, but they really didn’t need to (in general, no one needs a track that hit the double-digits in minutes…).

As opposed to some of their more widespread appeal, if not as Decembrist-y major label releases such as 2011’s The King Is Dead (QRO review – which managed to hit #1 on Billboard), this is The Decemberists being The Decemberists because that’s what you want from The Decemberists – As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again.

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