Chicago-based Joan of Arc, and the family Kinsella, return with their second Polyvinyl release Boo Human. This time they have arrived with 14 musicians in tow to create a more complex and thorough album.
Staying true to their quirky indie rock roots, Boo Human starts of with a medley of sounds and styles. The initial track lolls with layered guitars and fuzzy vocals like an introduction to the sounds to come. The second track, “Laughter Reflected Back,” is more in line with the indie rock beats you would expect from this group; it’s experimental while still being approachable and has a drum line that seems to be taking two steps forward and one step back.
“Just Pack or Unpack” follows this track in the same vein, but with less exciting drums and a bass melody that is easier to follow for the five minutes of its existence. A melancholic and poetic drop of strings breaks up the rock stream with "9/11 2," but nicely leads into “A Tell-Tale Penis,” a track where the collaboration of all those musicians really shines, as the piano collaborates with the percussion to compliment the simple guitar melodies.
The album slowly and evolves into a cohesive four-song block, part surreal prog rock and part orchestrated jam with bits of pop, each track smoothly leading into the next creating a seamless and earnest stream that shows the bands maturity. With the exception of the final track, the album isn’t held together by lyrics and riffs, but rather each song establishes its own unique sound. Indeed, the last song, “So-and-So,” is the humble story of how sometimes we’re doomed to end up ex-so and so’s. Boo Human isn’t as ambiguous, but rather a wholly diverse experience from another impressive Chicago band.