Joan of Arc have been around for over two decades and have been churning out new albums at a near annual pace. On heir latest effort, 1984, they draw on familiar and new Joan of Arc sounds to craft a clever, pleasant and often strange record.
“Tiny Baby” is either a nostalgic mourning of innocence or simply a strange phrase from Tim Kinsella’s mind. “I pretend/I’m a tiny baby/That can’t keep/Its eyes open” Kinsella sings without back instrumentation. Ambient keys swell in the background until the songs reaches its climax near the end.
At 5:27, “Punk Kid” is the album’s longest track. The bass slides and rolls and carries the song throughout. Kinsella continues to display his strange and quirky lyrics on the verses, while he boasts his punk-cred on the courses, singing “All my life/I’ve been eating shit/Look at me/I’m a real punk kid”.
On “Truck”, Kinsella airs his frustrations with feeling invisible; being seen, but not observed. “I feel like a truck/Being driven down the highway/Nobody notices/The sounds that I make” he sings over sporadic and random clashes of instrumentation. Kinsella is able to hook in a brief musing about existentialism in the form of a cartoon rabbit in a young girl’s book: “He relies on her to exist/’Cause he doesn’t really live”.
“Forever Jung” is the album’s closing track. It fades in quickly and flows much more traditionally than Joan of Arc songs often do. A vocal layered in effects moans the melody wordlessly as the instrumentation gets progressively more intricate. The song ends on a sustain droning note.
Joan of Arc continue to impress two decades into their career. Assuming they continue their fast pace of release new music, they’ve given themselves a tough act to follow in 2019.