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Paralytic Stalks

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iTunes Review

You can regard Paralytic Stalks as an act of catharsis or an exercise in self-flagellation—there’s enough angst on Of Montreal’s latest opus to last a decade’s worth of albums. Paralytic Stalks is a gorgeous kaleidoscope of sonic textures, fusing dandified David Bowie–esque soul/pop with quirky psychedelia and expansive prog-rock. Barnes has long displayed both childlike playfulness and unhinged confession in his work. This time, the tension between his lyrics’ obsessive emotions and his music’s eccentric ambitions reaches new and dizzying heights. Torrents of anguished words are carried along by twitchy grooves, echoing pianos, and fluttering woodwinds in “We Will Commit Wolf Murder” and “Dour Percentage.” Whether he’s churning through the spacy funk of “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff” or luxuriating in the tropical tones of “Malefic Dowry,” Barnes keeps prodding and provoking listeners. The most extreme is “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission,” a 13-minute epic of jittery rhythms and shifting instrumental shards. It’s all heady, brilliant stuff, disturbing and exhilarating in equal measure.

Customer Reviews

Difficult, but a Masterpiece

After False Priest, I was ready for of Montreal to try something new, and Paralytic Stalks is yet another left turn for this band. The lyrics are dark and very personal, but it doesn't sound as intimate as Hissing Fauna or even as personality filled as the last couple of albums. While this might turn some people off, the album seems to be operating on a much higher plane than perhaps anything they've done before. From the soaring, epic opener, through the rocking Ye, Renew the Plaintiff (my favorite off the album), Paralytic Stalks is endlessly exciting and more artistically ambitious than anything Kevin Barnes has written to date.

I am sure the final couple of songs will be the problem many have with this album though. Exorcismic Breeding Knife is a dissonant collage, apparently inspired by Ives and Penderecki, and the last song has a long, often dissonant, string interlude. These songs must be listened to in the context of the full album to be appreciated, I think, and they work very well in context. Dour Percentage is an obvious single, but this album is really one cohesive artistic statement, and it is perhaps the most interesting and successful one of Montreal has made yet.

i hear dead people...

oh wait bowie is still with us.


I was really hoping for another Of Montreal mind blowing session and totally got it. Kevin Barnes breaks molds and violently juggles your attention once again in a way that he hasn't since Sunlandic Twins and Hissing Fauna. There is so much intent in every moment of this album.

I wonder if I hear impact from Age of Adz? I read somewhere that he adored that album, as he should!


I'm taken aback and way into this album.


Formed: 1996 in Athens, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was among the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. A native of Athens, Georgia, Barnes was inspired to form the euphoric indie pop group in the wake of a broken romance with a woman from Montreal. He signed with Bar/None Records while living in Florida, subsequently moved to Cleveland and Minneapolis in search of compatible bandmates, and finally returned home to collaborate with bassist Bryan Helium...
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