Joan of Arse CD review (Flameshovel]

Music Reviews
Joan of Arse CD review (Flameshovel]
Oct 15, 2002, 02:34

JOAN OF ARSE Distant Hearts, a Little Closer CD

An initial spin had me saddened that trite, weepy emo-pop had reached the shores of Ireland. Dublin? This particular treacly, tear-soaked warble sounds just like every lost-in-love sad boy that fronted an East Coast (United States, that is) pity-party band. And while we're at it, lose the scrimshaw artwork, Nancy boys! And stay out! The opening track notwithstanding, subsequent spins brought this listener back around. There's more going on here than mere self-indulgence, and it's not just the gimmickry of nontraditional instrumentation (saw, accordion, mandolin, which actually turn out to be a nice touch). Yes, atop a basic emo template Joan of Arse has added layers of sound associated with a range of artists, from Neil Young circa '75 to Will Oldham/Palace. Hell, they've even squeezed a dose of neo-chamber sound into the mix, evoking thoughts of acts such as Movietone and Rachels. The result is a series of unexpected turns that steers the listener several time zones away from its initial salvo of bland post-this-n-that rock into a lush, moody landscape. While the musicianship is creative and crisp, the actual melodies are hit-and-miss. That's okay, Joan of Arse has a lot to work with—they've set themselves up a pretty spacious tent. [Flameshovel]

-Bo Pogue

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