Joan of Arc [I]So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness[/I] Review

Since their inception in 1996, with Tim Kinsellas (Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Friend/Enemy) holding the reins, Joan of Arc have claimed to be on a mission to alienate fans with their music. Along the way, whether by accident or unproclaimed victory, they’ve released four full lengths, a single and an EP of very beautiful music.

Their styles have evolved from an expressively giddy art/emo rock to electro-acoustic lullabies to ProTools-chopped loops of acoustic orchestration. It seemed they’d accomplished their goal with a "posthumous" release that came across as a question of "what do we do now amongst these ashes and cinders?" The EP How Can Anything So Little Be Anymore?, laced with children singing in the background, seemed to show that the band had been reduced to a vulnerable state.

From those very ashes, however, Joan of Arc have re-birthed themselves. Stepping away from the ethereal and melodic drones and the ProTools chop and paste recording, they’ve released an album both haunting and "groove" oriented as they’ve ever been. Kinsellas has taken himself vocally to levels not unlike Stevie Nicks, engaging and at times menacing. The album only falters in that it lacks dynamics. It therefore files itself as background music by the end of its 11 seamless songs.

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