Various - Joan of Arc Presents Don't Mind Control (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Joan of Arc Presents Don't Mind Control (2010)


Since its inception, Joan of Arc has had over 40 members fill out various instruments as part of Tim Kinsella's utopian experimental band. So it's fitting, then, that Kinsella would one day awaken the hydra and organize a compilation of all those members' side projects, or at least 18 of them. What to expect the album to be, however, is a blank stare-inducing thought: When freed from form, what would these multi-instrumentalists concoct?

The album features the whole Kinsella clan--Tim has an acoustic jam, Mike has an Owen song about the world ending and Nate has a few collaborative projects--as well as the most notable of Joan of Arc collaborators: Cale Parks, Victor Villareal and Sam Zurick with Ghosts and Vodka, et. al. The tracks range from experimental noise runs (White/Light) to full-out rockers (Disappears, Slick Conditions) to mathalicious prog attacks (Ghosts and Vodka, A Tundra) to acoustic folk jams and bass solos (Owen, Tim Kinsella, Joshua Abrams).

You can be sure there's a fair amount of standard weirdness (Birdshow, Litesalive) and there's some conventional (well, by Joan of Arc standards) indie rock as well (Euphone, Pillars and Tongues).

The package is large--18 songs total--and it's a bit discouraging to try and tackle it in one piece on your iPod, unless you need a varied soundtrack for a long and focused task. Instead, the double vinyl feels like a more manageable way to digest this collection; cut amongst four sides, it's hard to complain about it running long.

Coming in for the win is the mildly psychedelic dirge/ballad by the Cairo Gang. "Oh Solo" has it all--soulful rhythm, melodic bass, muted production and a minimalist approach that creates as much music in its negative space as it does when the chords hit. It seems weird to solo out one track amongst 18 great ones, but it's also hard denying the fact that I keep coming back for one song or another, and end up just letting the album play.