The music of Joan of Arc has never been what you’d call normal. In a career that spans further than some artist’s birth year, they’ve always done their own thing and many times they’ve been ahead of those who tried to follow them. Even on their debut album A Portable Model Of the band offered a new way to experience indie rock. This extended into stellar releases like How Memory Works, Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain and Boo Human to name a few.
Due to the band’s prolific nature and the fact that Tim Kinsella has always wanted to make music that works best for Joan of Arc, latter albums like Life Like and He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands exhibited works that took the band in new directions while keeping a framework of what came prior. However on the band’s final album Tim Melina Theo Bobby, they stay the course while delivering their finest work to date.
The somber sounds of the opening track “Destiny Revision” check all of the boxes for Joan of Arc fans while offering a melodic approach. The mix of the song places instruments in both ears with the soft vocals laying upon the instruments like a gentle breeze. The band gets a bit more introspective on “Something Kind” where Melina takes over on vocals and the band offers a sound that’s more experimental. However between the noise aspects and the electronic touches it works and graces on the latter sound that Sonic Youth added to their palette.
Where “Creature and Being” has Kinsella in a softer presence, “Land Surveyor” offers up that open ended sound that made the band so intriguing. It’s as if no isn’t an option in what gets brought to the album and things stay intriguing throughout the song. “The Dawn of Something” has this folky meets Eastern world tone that draws you in as it plays out, “Rising Horizon” has that interplay of sounds that remind you of earlier JOA and “Upside Down Bottomless Pit” has a varied sound that doesn’t deter long time fans of the band and new listeners alike. But of the ten tracks, the favored came on “Karma Repair Kit.” The acoustic tones against the drum machine and the bass line get met with nuanced sounds that play right under Kinsella’s voice like a soundtrack to a film yet to be written. The song has more traditional touches but it gets layers of sound to explode into a diverse sound that is not only what you expect from the band, but one you appreciate when you hear it.
Tim Melina Theo Bobby is available on various formats directly from Joyful Noise Recordings. It’s also available in all digital music stores or to stream on all streaming sites.
Image Credits: Photo by Chris Strong.