A back-to-basics record, Life Like finds Joan of Arc as a four-piece, the base trio of Tim Kinsella, bassist Bobby Burg, and drummer Theo Katsaounis joined by guitarist Victor Villareal. (For those unaware, Villareal and Kinsella are longtime friends who forged a new working relationship after their former band Cap'n Jazz reunited in 2010.) The quartet returned from a long European tour and immediately entered Electrical Audio with Steve Albini at the helm; five days later they emerged with Life Like. Kinsella sounds rejuvenated having Villareal back in the studio with him; the ten-minute opener "I Saw the Messed Binds of My Generation" encapsulates an instrumental warm-up plus the token confessional indie rock. Aside from the Cap'n Jazz fans still around, emo fans will also want to take notice; Life Like is the closest to emo that Kinsella has come in ten years. Part of it is having a small group and part of it is being recorded up-front and raw (as only Steve Albini can do). Best of all, Kinsella's lyrical wit is still affecting, displayed in both song titles ("Howdy Pardoner") and his always honest, direct lyrics about relationships ("Let's cut each other's strings/Give me a hand if you understand").
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AllMusic Review by John Bush