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  The Gap  
  Joan of Arc  
  Jade Tree  
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There's pretense, and then there's PRETENSE, BABY! Joan of Arc has no problem whatsoever embracing the latter of those. Yep, this is art-rock with no excuses or alibis, and you'd be hard pressed to forget that fact. If you don't like art-rock, run screaming now. If you do like art-rock, take a flier on this little gem. It's hard to make a pretty, three-minute pop song sound as it is. To make a pretty, three-minute pop song and then chop it up and rearrange it's dissected pieces into a different sort of order, and still have the end result be a pretty, three-minute pop song, well, that takes some serious skill.

And balzac. A good deal of chutzpah must be had as well.

Okay, so the recorded sounds of (I'm guessing here, so bear with me) of a bag of glass recycling (beer bottles, by the sound of it) breaking and falling onto a concrete floor don't make as good a "percussion instrument" in actuality as they do in art-theory, but you've got to give them credit for trying. Right?

C'mon, these people actually named a song John Cassavetes, Assatta Shakur, and Guy Debord walk into a bar. No, really, they did! It's track four. I have no idea what it's about, but it's really called John Cassavetes, Assatta Shakur and Guy Debord walk into a bar. And one of their titles (track one) has almost as many parentheses and brackets in it as it does letters. (You) [I] Can Not See (You) [Me] as (I) [You] Can. (Only the period's not part of the title, it's just me ending that sentence.)

I like it. I can't help but like it, 'cause they're so unapologetically pretentious it hurts. Granted, I'd probably want to throw beer bottles at them if I ever had to meet them at a party, but when they're confined to this little magic music disc on my shelf they're pretty fun.

And more often than not, despite themselves it seems, they still make pretty, three-minute pop songs. And that's pretty damned cool, even if it smells overly ripe of art.

Five sponges. They lose one for not cutting the bottles-dropping-on-concrete song and another for putting it so far up front (track two) on the album. And WRAS, Georgia State University student radio, loses one sponge themselves for choosing to play that song instead of the parentheses-brackets song.

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