Has Tim Kinsella alienated every last one of his supporters (me included), or has he finally hit stride?
- Fogbow – 7.0/10 (Digital beats………..Has Jeremy Boyle rejoined the band? All joking aside this is a pretty solid song. Hypnotic and spacey are the two words that come to mind when you hear the first minute. You can tell that Tim Kinsella is starting to stretch his arms and legs a bit and this new direction works for the most part. It is nice to see that JOA is a constantly morphing beast.)
- The Garden of Cartoon Exclamations – 6.5/10 (Multi-part harmonies??? Crazy…… Then we settle into the piano half drunk feel that reminds me of songs like “Mr. Participation Billy”, with a little less drunkeness. Tim has big ideas but sometimes it feels like those ideas arent fully expressed. This song has a neat ebowed guitar bridge but it dissolves back into the somber piano to finish the song.)
- Flowers – 8.5/10 (This is a bad ass instrumental, built around a loose acoustic groove. If it were not for Tim’s unique playing style, I would have a hard time picking this out as a Joan of Arc song. Playful and also hard driving I was bobbing my head through the whole thing. Not as much of a fan of the slower mid section but the rest of the song makes up for it.)
- Fasting – 6.0/10 (A stop gap noise piece that is ultimately forgettable but inoffensive. Reminds me a bit of The Gap.)
- Explain Yourselves #2 – 8.0/10 (Starts off a bit like a rocking video game song, but the drums soon take hold of the groove and you will find the hook “no one wants to die with a couple hundred bucks still stuck in a sock drawer” is planted in your brain. Oh Tim you always amaze me. This song has a distinct loose groove feel to it which reminds me a bit of Menomena.)
- Tsunshine – 6.5/10 (Taking a whole minute and a half to round into some sort of form, you feel a little let down that it never grows up at all. It meanders a bit in the middle then dissolves towards the end. I feel songs like this aren’t really enhancing the overall experience of the album, they only give you time to space out for a bit because they are very forgettable.)
- Delicious Herbal Laxative – 8.5/10 (Is this a pop song? I am simply floored. I thought all the JOA pop was well behind us by now, but I was wrong. Tim and the gang are having fun and this pop instrumental shows that he can still write a great tune and he didn’t ruin it will a bunch of useless overdubs.)
- Explain Yourselves – 6.0/10 (What plagues a lot of JOA releases are the songs that feel like incomplete thoughts. This song is a fine example of such tune. A repetitive guitar riff that never gets off the ground, instead it seems to lull itself into a coma. At about the 2:40 mark it changes but not enough to really make a difference in the total feel. Tim’s vocals are drenched in effects throughout which only add to the general blah of the song.)
- Table of The Laments – 5.5/10 (Kinda a pointless song filled with acoustic guitar strums and digital blips with the few vocal murmurs from time to time. I don’t really see much of a point to this track, but it does avoid being abrasive or annoying.)
- Fable of The Elements – 6.0/10 (An instrumental companion piece to the previous song and only slightly better. This track is a little more interesting because of the use of percussive elements but coupled with the song before, are both pretty much a waste of space.)
- Life Sentence / Twisted Ladder – 7.5/10 ( A fuzzy guitar riff that i would dare say is borderline mainstream (i say that with respect) in a Sonic Youth/Pavement way. Tim’s vocals take more of a back seat for once, letting the track gel in a classic indie rock way. It is great to see JOA pulling out all sorts of bags of tricks. One of the most straight forward songs they have written, starting to see a pattern here.)
- The Sun Rose – 7.0/10 (This is an acoustic closer that is a fitting end to a pretty solid album. At a 1:24 in length there is not a lot to be said, but I do find myself returning to track one for another listen.)
The Bottom Line – 6.9/10 I really enjoy many moments of this album, cut out the filler songs and you would have a very solid ep. I hope Tim keeps up work like this!