Joan Of Arc
After several years away from the group (but still working on projects like the Owls), Tim Kinsella holed up with several members of Joan Of Arc and they went through a musical production phase that was as prolific as anything they'd ever done. Turning in two albums worth of material to Jade Tree, they found that label was drawn to about half of it (which became the recently released So Much For Staying Alive And Lovelessness, while the other half of the tracks that they had completed were sort of left without a home. In Rape Fantasy And Terror Sex We Trust is the result of those other tracks, and much of the division of the two releases seems fairly logical after hearing both of them.
Although there are still a couple tracks on this release that seem to deal with personal relationships and the thoughts that go along with them, much of the usual non-sequiter and stream-of-consciousness lyrics touch on larger looming fears like governmental control and corporate scandals. If you've heard Kinsella's vocal and lyrical stylings in the past, though, you know that hardly anything is ever straightforward.
The same goes for the music on this release. After the more straight-up band sounds on their release of only two months ago, this new album definitely reverts back to their more experimental style of the past, augmented with studio trickery (although it's still not nearly as much as the protools drenched work of the past). "Song The Scarecrow Song" starts things off with odd timing signatures and an almost jazz influence in a fairly standard band format before the following track of "Happy 1984 and 2001" brings fuzzy guitars, swirling guitars, and multi-part vocals that turn into an extended, absurdist string of phrasing off the base line "shadow government."
"Gang Language" is one of the more successful forays into the more experimental style, mixing piano dabblings, a chugging, herky-jerky rhythm and clever vocal trickery. "Them Brainwash Days" mixes a buried spoken-word style vocal under almost phasing guitar, synth, and piano melodies, and it's arrives as one of the best tracks on the release, flat out. On the other side of the equation, "No Corporate News Is Good News" feels like an eternity despite its short running time (crackly vocals, guitars, and some filtered kettle drums?) and "That Radiant Morning" is a downright atrocious mash of looped samples that sound like they were culled from old movies (including possibly Rocky Horror Picture Show and an old western of some sort).
Although it was never the intention of this release to become b-sides to the more polished work of So Much For Staying Alive And Lovelessness, this release really does end up coming across that way. Although there are some truly outstanding tracks, a good portion of the disc (especially the second half) sputters through songs that feel more like incomplete sketches than anything else. The closing album-titled track runs just under 9 minutes and makes up well over one-fifth of the album running time with some unruly squalls of guitar feedback. It's not horrifically offending, but doesn't offer anything other than a messy overlong exclamation point on an album that could have been whittled down to an EP and made much stronger in the process.