Album Review: Tim Melina Theo Bobby by Joan of Arc
Great, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Sometime following the release of their gorgeous 2018 album 1984, long-running Chicago art rock experimentalists Joan of Arc decided to call it a day. The band formed in 1995 around the impassioned vocals, obtuse thinking, and creatively limitless songwriting of former Cap'n Jazz member Tim Kinsella, and for the next many years, Kinsella and a rotating cast of players stretched the conceptual boundaries of what Joan of Arc was on over a dozen albums. After making the decision to end the group, the most recently active lineup entered the studio, knowing that what they were recording would be the last statement from a band who had spent two-and-a-half decades creating a sound that was both wildly specific and somehow boundless.
Seemingly indefatiguable and unbreakable, other than a temporary hiatus in the early 2000s, it has felt for some time that Joan Of Arc will outlast all other Kinsella projects (Owls, American Football etc) and continue playing music into eternity. Coming from an act renowned for baffling both their fanbase and the press, the idea that this is it does lack some of the believability afforded to most other bands. Nevertheless, this is being projected as the end of the road for the indie/emo stalwarts, and that news alone has bequeathed it with serious reverence from a committed and adoring fanbase.
Tim Melina Theo Bobby, the last album by Joan of Arc, plays as if Tim Kinsella, Melina Ausikaitis, Theo Katsaounis, and Bobby Burg sat down to compile their greatest hits, remembered they aren't the kind of band that writes hits, and decided to try out a little bit of everything. There's an effective literalism to this approach: If you've ever liked a Joan of Arc song, then you'll almost certainly like some of these. And if you didn't, then track 1 sounds exactly like American Football--talk about an instant crowd pleaser.