by Joan of Arc


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For Flowers, Tim Kinsella is backed with the same cast of musicians who guested on last year's outing, and, considering that the recording dates coincide perfectly with the ones listed on Boo! Human, it would be a fair assumption that these are the tracks that didn't quite make the cut last time around. Littered with improvisational instrumentals ("A Delicious Herbal Laxative," "Flowers," and "Fasting") and near-instrumentals with only background monosyllabillic sighs for vocals ("Table of the Laments," "Fable of the Laments," and "The Sun Rose"), only five of the album's tracks are actual songs with lyrics. Disappointing as this may be, rest assured, the fully realized moments are pretty solid. "Fogbow" finds Kinsella tinkering with an indie electronic digi-beat, in a new-fangled, peppy Hot Chip pop style, and "Life Sentence/Twisted Ladder" time travels back to his Chicago post-rock roots for a choppy, guitar-driven number. In a more traditional Joan of Arc manner, the reflective, piano-based "The Garden of Cartoon Explanations" and slinky open-tuned acoustic-based "Tsunshine" are unnerving ballads that are one part pretty/two parts creepy, with ominous, ethereal keyboard splashes darkening the air. After a handful of sampled artists count off "1, 2, 3, 4" at the end of the aforementioned song, the album shifts into a warm instrumental groove that wouldn't sound out of place on a Tortoise album before transcending into the record's highlight: a cathartic space rock ballad titled "Explain Yourselves #1." Here, vocals vibrate with tremolo effects and create a mood that's downright tranquil. The rest is hit or miss. Joan of Arc's work on a whole generally tends to be pretty loose, but sorting through the remnants and mood pieces on Flowers can make Boo! Human seem absolutely cohesive in comparison. Oh well. It's still totally listenable and likeable. Even if it's a little underdeveloped, fans of Kinsella's trademark observational musings won't want to live without gems like "Who put the quotes around your life" and "No one wants to die with a couple hundred bucks still stuck in the sock drawer."

Product Details

Release Date: 06/09/2009
Label: Polyvinyl Records
UPC: 0644110017628
catalogNumber: 176
Rank: 274995

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan of Arc   Primary Artist
Leroy Bach   Organ,Piano,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar
Tim Kinsella   Organ,Synthesizer,Guitar,Percussion,Ukulele,Vocals,electronics
Mike Kinsella   Bass,Drums
Graeme Gibson   Synthesizer,Drums
Liz Payne   Viola
Ben Vida   Guitar,Guitar (Tremolo)
Todd Mattei   Organ,Synthesizer,Electric Guitar,Xylophone
Bobby Burg   Organ,Synthesizer,Guitar,Vocals
Emmett Kelly   Shaker
Paul Koob   Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Conga,Vocals,Upright Bass
Theo Katsaounis   Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Drums,Vocals
Paul Koob   Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Upright Bass
Evan Dydzik   Upright Bass
Elizabeth Remis   Violin
Mark Trecka   Organ
Todd Mattei   Organ,Synthesizer,Electric Guitar,Xylophone
Liz Payne   Viola
Joshua Abrams   Bass

Technical Credits

Graeme Gibson   Engineer
Todd Mattei   Cover Art
Paul Koob   Graphic Design

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