Joan of Arc

He’s Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands

Joyful Noise

Feb 15, 2017 Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary Bookmark and Share


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He's Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands is absurdity at it's most resolute: a bending stream of puzzles and mongering references pouring unapologetically from a band with a history of 20+ years and a 20+ person oft-changing line-up, straight from a voice that has held its course. That steadfast commitment to keeping it weird gives Joan of Arc a street-cred not afforded to others who are making weird music. One can get it or not, but Joan of Arc, does not seem to care.

"This Must Be the Placenta" is a gurgling tincture, with belching horns folding into Tim Kinsella's famously softly shaded, occasionally off-key croon, effective as they come, like a Daniel-Johnston-grade leaf blower, getting all those subconscious connotations worked up. Sure, sometimes the listener's suspension of disbelief is curtailed by a mention of a "Strange babysitter howling, wind-cracked paint, and weird portraits of dead popes," but it can be renewed with a harrowing moment of repetitively begging, "Show me what you don't show"a moment of humanity. Our loop is thrown again, and a band we could shake can't be shook. This happens on and on, again and again throughout the album. Almost ad nauseam. One wants to shake Kinsella and say, "Can you please take this a little more seriously?" Because stripped of the discord and uncomfortable shock-factor references, the melodic interchanges can be extremely pleasant and directional. Joan of Arc knows how to build with an emotive goal, and He's Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands has moments where it gives the weird a glorious grounding and juxtaposition.

It's a slow-grower, worth applying oneself too. If one can disregard the brashness, drop the record a few times, and get over the weird for weird's sake, it is possible to embrace the complexities buried beneath in this offering from a group of post-punk, avant-garde cobblers. They are sincere apologists of the experimental, who've been at the game for years, but their experiments can be off-putting, if one doesn't go into it with an extremely open and forgiving mindset. (www.joanofarcband.com)

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