At its best, Joan of Arc plays repetition off rupture, as on "The Infinite Blessed Yes," in which it borrows a moody groove from the Sea and Cake and riles it up with twittery trumpets. Elsewhere, though, it seems the crew is auditing a course in deconstructed jam bands, undoing perfectly functional rock structures and tangling them in extended, ill-fitting improvisations.
Gastr del Sol -- Jim O'Rourke and David Grubbs' highly theorized fusion of experimental poetics, rock 'n' roll, and avant-garde composition -- hangs heavily over Joan of Arc's efforts. But the success of that group obscured the fact that such aggressive aims really are rocket science. Too often on So Much Staying, Kinsella and his classmates sound like frazzled doctoral students, patching together moments of brilliance with half-baked doodles.