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Joan Of Arc: Joan Of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain

 
Beginning with rickety-sounding jazzy piano, lo-fi bass throbs and layers of cello, vibes and synths, Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain slides into "Questioning Benjamin Franklin’s Ghost," a playful tune with serious undertones. In it Tim Kinsella questions free will, existence and time, ultimately showing how we all have conflicting views of such things but usually resort to discussing the weather as to avoid confrontation, which, poetically, ties into a reference about Ben Franklin, a founding father known not for his brilliant views on complex matters but rather for meteorology experiments.

The philosophy continues on the next track, "Apocalypse Politics." In front of three separate acoustic guitar structures (Sam Zurick and Bobby Burg accompany him) Kinsella sings, "…with the Earth agreed a circle any and all points can each be the center simultaneously while the world continues ending in it’s infinite variable speeds." It’s a folky plea for humility and humbleness due to us all sharing a common end.

"White and Wrong" shares the sentiment with lines such as "…the sky’s the same size everywhere." Instead of humility, it focuses on established religion and its role in the duality of the human psyche, good and evil and our acknowledgement of one or the other. The music is far more complicated – rolling percussion and the timely ring of a triangle try to anchor the signature guitar hammerings and pull-offs until the chorus.

Similar stabs at the popular views of the world appear throughout the album. With peppy acoustic guitar amid a barrage of percussion (even a cowbell) lead by co-ed vocals, "80’s Dance Parties Most Of All" deems everything from something as old as the 24-hour day to something as new as Friendster to be a conspiracy. Yet, it’s not so much paranoia at play as it is disdain. This disdain sits behind Kinsella’s creative process. His fleeting moments of musical genius end up being overshadowed by his propensity to destroy any element of convention in his music. But it’s these fleeting moments that will have you coming back and ultimately seeing the genius in every moment. Joan of Arc, Dick Cheney, Mark Twain… and the rest of the Joan of Arc catalog are all exercises in creation through destruction by artists so out of touch with pop culture they can’t help but create something new and ultimately gratifying.


Andy Heater
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