Tim Kinsella must be tired and worn out. Given the exuberant poet schoolboy sounds in the Owls album that were trying so hard – too hard, maybe? Yes, I think so – and the typical "we owe the listener nothing" shtick of previous Joan of Arc albums, it would seem that Kinsella has calmed down a bit. So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness is one of the more restrained performances that the band has produced of late (because, let’s be fair, every project Kinsella is a part of is essentially the same band) and it works greatly to their advantage.
The Owls album was a difficult record to pin down for me. Where I loved the musicianship, there were more than a few songs where I kept hoping fervently that Tim would just shut the fuck up and let the music play. But he didn’t and over the period of a few months, the frustration of having songs marred repeatedly by Ego-Boy’s overbearing vocals lead to the eventual negative review the album got.
But maybe that was the end of it. With that album, the great purge that it was, he got it all out of his system, took a deep breath and decided that maybe his project ought to be a little more evenly executed and So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness is born. Essentially, still the Kinsella formula, but more along the lines of pre-The Gap era releases than the actual Gap album itself. Melody and song structure have returned in more classic form, but the blips and bleeps of How Memory Works have not, again to the disc’s benefit.
They just released a four DVD boxset of my movies (Kinjite / Messenger of Death / Murphy’s Law / 10 to Midnight). Go buy it and if you’ve got any cash left over, get the Joan of Arc CD.