Listen Up: Wednesday, April 17, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Joan of Arc

So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness (Jade Tree)

By Anthony Mariani

There’s still a musician out there who can laugh at himself. And his reward is in those irony-clad listeners who let him creep through their speakers and snuggle up beside them and hit it off. Tim Kinsella and his Joan of Arc can likely count among their devotees: jerks who reference Derrida references; people whose calendars still read “1996”; and the occasional indie-rock fright who thinks that quoting a hair metal band in song removes him far enough from “cool” to register as anti-cool “cool,” the rebel’s true crown (like a black guy who flies the Confedie flag ’cause, ya know, he likes the shapes and colors). Gently and with a meandering gait on So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness, JOA heads straight for terra Serta to kick out the lullabies. Basically, the record is Kinsella’s high-pitched, sing-talky susurrations soothing frequently linear, frequently measured arrangements of guitar, drums, and bass. These guys are genuinely insincere enough that they can then do pretty much whatever the hell they want, “cool” or cool, and they do. “And everything you think makes you cool,” Tiny Tim’s wavy voice threatens in track 2, “makes you even more of a loser.”

Whereas JOA once “agonized” over the splitting and splicing of pre-recorded beats, they’ve now come around to the old-school conceit of playing real instruments in real studios, helmed by the kind of engineers who, between poring over anime and quaffing Coke, look at being asked to twist a knob two centimeters with the same skeptical eye they’d bring to being genially conned into helping a friend move large home appliances across town — in other words, JOA’s gone raw, making a perfect canvas from which farouche Kinsella can cut people, typically significant others, down to his level. Yet unlike, say, Pavement, JOA can latch onto a jangly groove and — here’s the kicker — stick with it! Maybe even repeat it two or three times at appropriate moments throughout otherwise loosey-goosey tunes. How got-damn cool is it to hear strong, catchy riffs run off by guys who love their instruments as much as they hate themselves? Bliss, I tell ya.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions