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So Much Staying Alive And Love [Import]

Joan of Arc Audio CD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.31
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Listen, but brilliant March 22 2004
Format:Audio CD
For those who are expecting another How Memory Works or Live in Chicago, hold your horses. Joan of Arc has grown up. Just like previous albums, Joan of Arc's So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness is a fantastic psychedelic brain trip that challenges the ideas of rhythm, melody, and coherence. But the similarities stop there. Quite simply, Joan of Arc has put out thier rock album. Upon first listen I hated this record. However I usually find that the hard to listen to records usually become my favorites after repeated listens. There is something both disturbing and soothing about Joan of Arc's seemingly random guitar meanderings, subtle beats and Tim Kinsella's neurotic, yet buttery voice. Once you allow your brain to accept the experimental nature of the music you begin to hear how brilliant it really is. It is not at all random, but a well orchestrated, complicated masterpiece that truly defies genre. It's like listening to Sonic Youth if they were really into new Radiohead with Nick Drake as the mouthpiece. For those of you who REALLY appreciate music for music's sake, or old Joan of Arc fans, challenge yourself by trying this album out and see if it doesn't grow on you. I give this CD a 4/5 for originality, and better listenability than most of thier previous albums. Great.
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Format:Audio CD
Calling Joan of Arc a "band" is something of a misnomer. They've always seemed like more of an art project than your standard rock group. Joan of Arc songs lurch in all different directions: some sound impossibly complex, others willfully tossed off. Tempos change frequently and without warning, guitars weave and wind around each other, and random noise seeps in through the cracks. Over it all, Kinsella moans, croons, and howls lyrics about linguistics, trash culture, and obscure French films. Is it any wonder he's half-jokingly said his band plays "music that no one likes"?
But people do like Joan of Arc, and there are a lot of worthwhile, adventurous ideas happening all over Lovelessness. "The Infinite Blessed Yes" is a beautifully drifting tune that almost feels poppy despite its odd time signature and impenetrable lyrics. She said you can't be so quietly gay / Cuz I already am and no one will ever let you keep anything they know you have. And "Perfect Need and Perfect Completion" has an almost straightforward (although still a bit oblique) narrative, revealing a movement away from the too-smart-for-his-own-good approach that has plagued other Kinsella releases. Perhaps most interesting is "Mr. Participation Billy," in which the singer details random acts of violence over a jaunty piano melody. Never has anyone sung "he got his pelvis smashed with a baseball bat" so sweetly.
Whether you find Kinsella's brand of experimental pop insufferably pretentious or delightfully challenging (I find it a bit of both), you have to give the man credit for his vision. Indie rockers are often content to run their sound into the ground, content to play things safe. But Joan of Arc seem to work without a net, allowing their impulses and instincts to guide them, no matter what the consequences. The ride may be a bumpy one, but that doesn't mean its not exhilarating.
Tyler Wilcox
February 10, 2003
Junkmedia Review
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5.0 out of 5 stars they decided to try Feb. 12 2003
By Gren
Format:Audio CD
It's about that time of the night. And to be honest with you, i'm not feeling let down with this joan of arc (ii) record. the absolute least that can be said about it is that it has 11 tracks AND 11 actual songs on it. The eerie thing is though: that's exactly what is unexpected of Joan of Arc... have they decided to try making music more accessible than an inside joke? it's a chilling day, has it already arrived?
maybe this change comes because tim is finally getting to that age where it's time to settle down. it's suggested with some of the lyrics. for instance, the song, "dead together" tim sings, "we'll be woven together in earthworms." how romantic. it's nice to see that he's really concerned about his future now, and finding the lovely lady willing to be buried in earthworms with him.
more importantly, as far as the other aspects of the cd... it's definitely a joan of arc record as far as atmosphere. but it sounds more like a more stripped down owls sound with the mood of need new body. that really doesn't make any sense... and neither do these songs. there are still awkward joan of arc dischordances... but with fewer dead spaces. it's like they have attention spans no shorter than comatose drone now too. the music's catchiness relies on patterns of dischordance where it fight itself... but suddenly in all of the weird awkwardness something catchy and unusually pretty pops out. mais, it works
there's quite an assortment of sounds on here. for instance, on the last song it sounds like he reverts to a cap'n jazz song towards the end reading out a prose-sounding dialogue. then, there are other times when the music sounds like the flaming lips were writing the score to willy wonka and the chocolate factory.
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