Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Joan of Arc, Our Brother the Native

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The title of Joan of Arc's recent odds-and-sods collection, The Intelligent Design of Joan of Arc (Polyvinyl), is more than just a creationism joke--it's a fitting statement on a stylistically erratic career that's covered everything from post-emo rock to abstract electronics to elliptical singer-songwriter territory. But the group's newest, Eventually, All at Once (Record Label), is its most relaxed and accessible effort to date. Tim Kinsella's yelp of a voice keeps getting prettier (even if his melodies are still convoluted) and the contrapuntal lines of guitars and vibes form a thick-yet-airy lattice that reveals new subtleties with each listen. Kinsella's lineups are constantly changing, so it's hard to predict what this gig--which includes his cousin Nate and brother Mike, Sam Zurick, Bobby Burg, Ben Vida, and Paul Koob--will sound like, but by now it's clear that's half the charm.

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