The enigmatic, dreamy rockers Joan of Arc used to be a punk band that fellow Chicagoan Ben Weasel of gutter pop-punk outfit Screeching Weasel called "the cruddiest and most pretentious band in Chicago." Ten years later, the foursome, centering on Tim Kinsella, shows off a penchant for hipster-defined irony. The Live in Chicago 1999 album, for instance, is not actually a live-show recording but an acknowledgment that band members lived in the Windy City in 1999. Joan of Arc has also changed its tune but not the Weasel description.
In keeping with the whole ironic labeling, the band posted Weasel's quote on promotional material for its not-so-cruddy, though arguably pretentious, atmospheric post-rock, which is part Chris Bell, part Modest Mouse, and part space-out samplings. Kinsella whines, imitates Louis Armstrong, and brings out extreme reactions in friends and foes. For those who get it, Kinsella's got an emotive, clever, talented voice, and his only fault may be that he muddles our exposure to these really enjoyable pipes.