Joan of Arc, Facs, Magas | Chicago Athletic Association Hotel | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Shervin Lainez

Joan of Arc, Facs, Magas Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m. 2017
Price: $15
May we all learn to be as dedicated to challenging ourselves as the members of Joan of Arc are with their ever-evolving art-rock group. The band launched 21 years ago, and with the exception of front man and lone original member Tim Kinsella, little has stayed the same—except for, notably, their singular zeal to prod themselves in different artistic directions. In his essay for “JOA20,” a visual art show held last year at Elastic that celebrated the band’s 20th anniversary, Kinsella laid out the bumpy, exhaustive process of working on the group’s new album, He’s Got the Whole This Land Is Your Land in His Hands (Joyful Noise). During a year off for Joan of Arc, Kinsella demoed more than 100 songs, ditched all but 38 of them, brought those to the band, and ended up ditching them anyway (“They all still sounded like us,” he says). Eventually Joan of Arc worked out an album that retains their distinct essence: Kinsella’s warm but unnerved vocals, complex instrumentation that sounds shaped through a figurative Tough Mudder course, and unexpected twists that strike balance between affecting and aggressive. All the while, He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands nudges Joan of Arc in new directions, as with “Grange Hex Stream,” which vacillates between melodically tranquil guitars and gurgling synths.
— Leor Galil



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