Joan of Arc Sprouts New “Flowers”


Latest chapter in never-unfolding evolution
for the beloved indie band.


Blurt Staff


On June
9th Polyvinyl Record Co. will release the new full length album by prolific Chicago band Joan of Arc
titled Flowers.  Although most bands struggle with distancing
themselves from the seemingly infinite number of musicians who have come
before, when Joan of Arc set about writing its new record the innovative group
had only one past example to compete with: itself.


“I think it’s harder for a band to make a
tenth record, than it is to make a first record,” says Tim Kinsella, who
remains the one permanent member of the Joan of Arc lineup. “There is more
freedom to be daring, but there is also your own standard to live up to and


It’s obvious that Kinsella has succeeded in doing
just that. Given the unconventional music style that characterizes the group’s
discography, Flowers pushes new boundaries by housing 12 tracks that
seamlessly glide together in a unique fashion. Here, the band weaves organized,
structured songs with frequent instrumental stretches to create a very natural
flow from start to finish.


Over the course of a year in four different
sessions with four different lineups, Flowers evolved into what it is
now. Recorded and mixed by Graeme Gibson (Califone, The 1900s, Catfish Haven)
at Chicago’s
Clava Studios, the album encapsulates the idea of improvisation and growth
perfectly.  In late 2008 Kinsella and the latest incarnation of his live
band entered the studio to complete the last batch of songs that would round
out Flowers.  With no instruments, and hardly any completed songs
the group simply did what felt right, using what was available to all the
musicians who had recorded there previously – pianos, acoustics, and
synthesizers – to create a new batch of music after only two days.


Wanting to counteract the raw emotional overtones of
Boo Human, Kinsella describes Flowers as “more like
sculpting a garden as a whole. Even before we started, we knew Flowers would have to be a little cooler and more formal.” 


Just as the title Flowers could suggest the
album is an offering for everything in life – love and death, celebration and
consolation – it also could be read in the sense of growth. Birthing new forms
and techniques are what make Joan of Arc who they are, and Flowers illustrates
this idea of maturation perfectly.


This experience summarizes the spirit of Joan of
Arc. It is a mentality that embraces contradictions and tears apart common
musical structures only to rebuild them without a blueprint. Joan of Arc
continue to succeed in doing what many strive for with a new album: creating an
obscure combination of familiar, obvious ideas while sticking with the notion
that “if it feels good, do it.”


1. Fogbow
2. The Garden of Cartoon Exclamations
3. Flowers
4. Fasting
5. Explain Yourselves #2
6. Tsunshine
7. A Delicious Herbal Laxative
8. Explain Yourselves
9. Table of the Laments
10. Fable of the Elements
11. Life Sentence / Twisted Ladder
12. The Sun Rose



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