steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Joan of Arc

"Boo! Human" CD


Genre: indie rock, post-rock

June 2008

A difficult album to wrap up mentally, and an even harder one to summarize, Boo! Human is a pop record that bounds quixotically from idea to idea but never loses its momentum. Despite strolling through a myriad of influences and genres, including acoustic guitar pop, shifty post-rock, and quirky Half Japanese-esque experimentation, Joan of Arc never lose sight of their melodic sensibility. Hence, this record manages to tread that fine line between the accessible and the interesting. That isn't to say your average Maroon 5 fan is going to give this a second look, but it does make this record a refreshing break from the college circuit norm.

Although this record plays something like a stylistic scattergories, there are certainly some recurring themes on tap. Post-rock, itself a difficult genre to pin down, seems to come up a fair bit, whether it's the mathy, angular guitars and jazzy rhythms of "Laughter Reflected Back" or the rolling, man-on-a-mission vibe of Firebird Band-esque "The Surrender #2". Also prevalent is an eye for a more accessible pop sensibility, as seen on the longing "Shown and Told" (think Mojave 3), and "A Tell-Tale Penis," an immensely beautiful pop song harnessed by a simple acoustic guitar melody. Meanwhile, "If There Was a Time #1" is a rolling, bucolic folk-pop tune that juxtaposes a warm country vibe with JoA's standard edginess, and the dreadfully brooding "Vine on a Wire" boasts instrumentation straight out of Bowser's castle. One major qualm I have with Boo! Human is its mediocre closer, "So-and-So," which is a befittingly so-so track whose simple combination of strummed acoustic guitar and vocals (replete with Barlow-esque personal lyrics) proves a major letdown due to a lack of a decent melody. Still, the vast majority of this album is certainly worthy of attention, and while the record's eclectic nature can make it difficult to grasp as a cohesive album, the quality of the content has left it a joy to explore.

joan of arc's myspace


youuuuuuuutube!: the surrender live, vine on a wire live

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the label, released May 20, 2008]