14 Songs, 1 Hour 3 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the ornate album title suggests, Of Montreal are all about peculiar details and not being understood too quickly. Primarily the brainchild of singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes, this Athens, Georgia-based musical “collective” (members come and go without a sense of permanence) record a shimmering psychedelia that recalls the Flaming Lips in its eclectic ambitions and mix of silly and serious influences. Like the Lips, Barnes has discovered his inner funk and while he dreams of Sly Stone, he’s more like Beck stuck in falsetto. “We Were Born the Mutants Again With Leafling” (their titles are inscrutable) nicely reconciles this dancefloor urge with the songwriter’s natural inclination towards childlike melodies. But it’s the pulsating highway buzz of the 12-minute “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” that perfectly delivers the cathartic epiphany Barnes is hungry to capture. It’s said that much of the album deals with Barnes’ difficult life of the past few years — a marriage that has teetered on the brink — but that can only come to focus after one navigates past the frilly keyboards and sunshine-evoking arrangements that suggest a sandbox where any instrument is available for the asking. Can tragedy be this goofy? Why not?

EDITORS’ NOTES

As the ornate album title suggests, Of Montreal are all about peculiar details and not being understood too quickly. Primarily the brainchild of singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes, this Athens, Georgia-based musical “collective” (members come and go without a sense of permanence) record a shimmering psychedelia that recalls the Flaming Lips in its eclectic ambitions and mix of silly and serious influences. Like the Lips, Barnes has discovered his inner funk and while he dreams of Sly Stone, he’s more like Beck stuck in falsetto. “We Were Born the Mutants Again With Leafling” (their titles are inscrutable) nicely reconciles this dancefloor urge with the songwriter’s natural inclination towards childlike melodies. But it’s the pulsating highway buzz of the 12-minute “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” that perfectly delivers the cathartic epiphany Barnes is hungry to capture. It’s said that much of the album deals with Barnes’ difficult life of the past few years — a marriage that has teetered on the brink — but that can only come to focus after one navigates past the frilly keyboards and sunshine-evoking arrangements that suggest a sandbox where any instrument is available for the asking. Can tragedy be this goofy? Why not?

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