Joan of Arc - He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Joan of Arc - He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands

by Jeff Penczak Rating:2 Release Date:2017-01-13

Across twenty years and two dozen releases, Tim Kinsella has spearheaded Chicago’s Joan of Arc from post-rock indie darlings to perplexing headscratchers, their sound impossible to pin down from one release to the next. Album and song titles give no clue to what lies within, and that’s the way they like it – no preconceived notion as to what the new album is gonna sound like. Their latest starts with screaming, cursing (the opening lyric is “What the fuck”) and a rhythm track lifted straight out of Bananarama’s ‘It Ain’t What You Do’ (or is it ‘The Macarena’?), over which Kinsella sings monotonic lyrics in a hipper-than-thou Camper Van Beethoven style. Cut-up/non-sequitor lyrics (Brion Gysin seems to be a major influence on the lyrical approach) are spewed out over asynchronous instrumentation, probably the result of the members allegedly playing instruments they haven’t mastered.

Songs about placentas, egg yolks, trolls, and ‘New Wave Hippies’ fly by with reckless abandon, emphasis on the reckless. It’s hard to tell if they’re serious about this mess or if this is all an elaborate put-on, as most of the time they seem to just be hitting strings and banging on hard objects to see what kind of sounds they make. Occasionally they’ll get a groove going and meld two songs into one (‘Grange Hex Stream’/’Two-Toothed Troll’) for a nice little jazz thing approximating Tortoise, but then Melina Ausikaitis parades out her Ann Magnuson impression and they try to recapture Bongwater’s flamboyant surrealism, but with little to no success.

So, if you’re looking to clear rooms or piss off your friends, slap this on and try explaining how your taste in music has devolved into amateurish prank rock that sounds like it was recorded by a kindergarten music class during a Chinese fire drill.

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