My Favorite
Joan of Arc Awaiting Trial
(Double Agent DA015CD)

"Alone in your dorm/Trying to stay warm."

And so, right from the get-go, you'll know whether you're in for the ride or whether you're running back to the safe and snuggly arms of your Belle & Sebastian records.

My Favorite is easily one of the most under-heralded indie bands around – they get dismissed as New Order and/or Smiths wannabes, but that's just indie rock elitism at work. What My Favorite is, is, well: your favorite. They rule.

Melancholy synths, blittery guitar lines, secret college diary lyrics, semi-pseudo-faux-Brit male and female vox – they really are more of an extension of what New Order was doing around Brotherhood than a carbon copy. And while they sometimes come off a bit studied, like they're trying REALLY hard to be Great, their ambition is undeniable, and frankly, their music is frequently better.

Have I overdone it with the italics yet? Let me know. Anyway, this is the first of three conceptually-linked EPs bringing an intensely personal Joan of Arc mythos forward, more by way of OMD than A&E.

The disc is exceedingly good straight through, reaching an incredible peak with "Homeless Club Kids," one of the most genuinely perfect and poetic songs written in the last ten years – "When the dancefloor's full/All the kids look so beautiful." Climaxing with the generational yet supremely private cry: "The ghosts of dead teenagers sing to me while I am dancing."

It's Songs of Innocence and Experience for the raveculture epoch – yes, as good as Blake. Am I being grandiose? Perhaps, but here it is: You may not get this music, but you are still part of it.

Imagine a space where 80s synthpop and teenage angst are essential textures to the world's overall emotional tapestry. Well guess what: You live in that world.

And thank God you do. Enjoy all the sparkly lights and soaring nights.

The EP is out of print, but it (along with the other two, A Cult of One and The Kids Are All Wrong onto a 2-disc set called The Happiest Days of Our Lives, which features an unreleased fourth EP and a slew of remixes. Watch it: For it will be the Substance of the 00s. And you know: Thank God someone is making manifesto music again.

Review by Reggie Barr