Music Reviews

Joan Of Arse

Distant Hearts, A Little Closer

Flameshovel

Imagine the playfulness of a folksy, rustic Super Furry Animals, and you may be close to imagining the wonderful world of Joan Of Arse. Distant Hearts, A Little Closer was originally released in Europe in 2001, and it’s about time someone picked it up and gave an even larger audience the chance to check out this Irish four-piece, fronted by a guy called, um, The Bearded Lady. Genius.

A couple of guys from Songs: Ohia guest on it, Alan Barr of The Delgados is here, Low’s Zak Sally designed the cover, Steve Albini produced. Powerful friends indeed. And if you need more clues, think Pavement, Will Oldham, Jim O’Rourke. And so on. But why bother about those people, Joan Of Arse sound like nothing else out there – a unique, angular and rustic take on twisted folk music, combining inventive narrative with beautiful indie folk to create something extraordinary.

“At the Feet of St. Peter” is a ten minutes long epic of harrowing scope that pushes the band’s sound to new heights, through a beautiful series of repetition and increased tension. “Watching Films With the Sound Down” offers lovely, subdued folk like you never dreamt it could sound, while “The Bellringer’s Warning and Other Stories” presents a huge, storming narrative that should have you on the edge of your seats.

Joan Of Arse excel in creating careful and considered songs that never take the easy way out, and they know how to use dynamics and instrumental interplay to get their strange, complex points effectively across. Distant Hearts, A Little Closer is a provocative, honest album from one of the true original acts of contemporary indie folk. Stunning.

Flameshovel Records: http://www.flameshovel.com


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