Joan Of Arc So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness

Somewhere along their journey, Joan Of Arc, known for their brand of avant-acoustic-electronic music, fell off the wagon (or is that jumped on the wagon?). The first four albums they released (most notably 1998's magnificent How Memory Works) were all crackers, cutting and pasting bits of music here and there, and often avoiding and regularity whatsoever. A beautiful mess of guitars, computerised glitches and Tim Kinsella's idiosyncratic vocals, JOA was once indie rock's mad scientist's artsy nephew. Flash forward to 2003, and the present JOA have decided to write actual songs, with structures and tunes, creating a (gulp) rock album. Of course, JOA aren't that flexible, so So Much Staying Alive and Lovelessness is not exactly MOR rock. Going analog and avoiding Pro-Tools for the first time, this album follows Kinsella's other band Owls' songwriting formula. The only problem with So Much... is that the complex allure of the band is now lost. What is left, is something that fans were once curious about, which now that is has happened, has become a disappointment. (Jade Tree)