Joan Of Arc Boo Human

Keeping tabs on Joan of Arc demands dedication. In 12 years, the Chicago-based collective have hatched nine full-lengths, two soundtracks, numerous EPs and singles, and, believe it or not, roughly18 offshoots. It’s enough to do any completist’s head in, yet the band show few signs of slowing, with Boo Human already marking the third Joan of Arc-related release of the year. And like most outings under the moniker, the latest finds songwriter Tim Kinsella firmly at the helm, guiding 14 musicians into his off-kilter, but increasingly accessible, world of post-pop/rock experimentalism. Leaving behind many of the group’s purposely "difficult” tendencies, Boo Human very much streamlines the band’s sound, weaving jazz-infused guitar pop, distorted waltzes and casual folk drones into one cohesive and, for once, logical whole. However, this doesn’t mean the record is for the masses by any means, with Kinsella’s scratchy, off-key vocals being an acquired taste at best and his lyrics of telltale penises and hermaphrodite stepfathers being even more so. But for Joan of Arc followers, Boo Human will likely sit as one of the group’s most consistent and downright enjoyable efforts. (Polyvinyl)