Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. Long running experimental troupe Joan Of Arc have returned with a new offering – entitled ‘1984’ – and it’s the subject of today’s feature.
The past couple of decades have seen Chicago’s Joan Of Arc tackle practically anything and everything over the course of a prolific and varied discography. Latest effort ‘1984’ is another hugely unique work from the group; it’s a textural, mature album crafted with a quiet confidence which permeates the album’s subtle drones and seeps into the very fabric of the music. Vocals are handled entirely by Melina Ausikaitis and it’s her unaffected, direct delivery that characterises much of the album. Lyrics are personal to the point of intimacy and the record delivers its stories with an all-encompassing ambience which makes ‘1984’ a difficult record to ignore.
Released through Joyful Noise Recordings, ‘1984’ comes in a couple of colour variations and we’re looking at the yellow vinyl pressing here. Pressed by GZ Media in the Czech Republic, early signs are definitely encouraging with this pressing. The chosen shade of yellow – somewhere between a banana and a bolt of lightning – looks great and the record also evidences strong quality control at the pressing plant as it is clean from new and free of marking. It also sits flat on the platter during playback, devoid of any warping. Upon playback we found there to be the odd crackle here or there but, generally, playback is very clean and the fidelity of the sound is excellent throughout. We did not encounter any inner groove distortion or similar sonic maladies and the 33rpm cut sounds great, with generally very clean playback that bares only light and occasion noise.
This is a strikingly presented release throughout. The sleeve is solid enough and made from roughly midweight card; it’s non-gatefold and it looks great, with sharp print quality. The barcode is found on a sticker on the shrinkwrap, rather than being printed onto the sleeve itself – which is a big plus as far as we’re concerned. As we’ve already said, the yellow vinyl looks excellent and it comes in a well printed card inner sleeve featuring lyrics to the album as well as credits and thanks. As with all such inner sleeves, we would suggest slipping the record into a polylined inner sleeve for general use but the printed inner is good quality and a worthy inclusion to the overall package. A download code is also included for digital needs.
Joan Of Arc are a band who never stop searching, and their latest album is further proof of that. It’s creative and highly unique and this Joyful Noise vinyl release does the album justice with a solid, clean pressing and good quality presentation.