Joan of Arc, 'Flowers' (Polyvinyl)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

These Chicago indie vets have caught flak over the years for being too arty and inscrutable, so maybe that's the reason songwriter Tim Kinsella spends part of his tenth album justifying the impulse to even create art. "Why still must be the heaviest soft syllable," he wails at one point; in other words, Kinsella explains, this shit is hard to explain. And yet, Flowers, a collection of mystical-seeming noise collages, absurdist dirges, and Pavement soundalikes, is as listenable as it is difficult to pin down: Hearing Kinsella empty out his mind might just calm yours.

Listen: Joan of Arc, "Explain Yourselves #2" (DOWNLOAD MP3)

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