Music Review: Of Montreal

Ask me what my favorite band is. No hesitation, I will say Of Montreal. For four years, I have worshipped the band. We have, however, had our rough patches. At one point, they sold out and gave Outback Steakhouse the rights to one of their songs for heinous commercials. I was pretty upset about it, and I moped around for a little while. Luckily, I got over it. This change of heart thankfully allowed me to avoid missing their latest gem, “Skeletal Lamping.” Of Montreal is somewhere between pop and alternative. Classifying the band is painful, however, because it defies conventions. This Atlanta-based band has been making original, catchy and insanely awesome music since 1997. Their songs are expertly layered with amazing vocals and creative (and nonsensical) lyrics, along with the usual synthesizer, guitar and percussion. All of this comes together to create Of Montreal’s young vibe and excellent consistency. At first, I thought that “Skeletal Lamping” didn’t live up to Of Montreal’s usual standards. The more I listened to it, however, the more I realized that the band was just doing things a little differently, but not necessarily worse. For starters, this album is very sexually explicit, so I wouldn’t recommend playing it in the car with your mom or dad. The lead singer, Kevin Barnes, has always been the epitome of non-conformist cool. He usually portrays this attitude in an unambiguously bisexual way that starts to show in “Skeletal Lamping.” Though it is difficult to pick my favorite songs from this album, there are definitely a few that stand out. “Wicked Wisdom” starts off in mock anger, just cussing someone out over some beats. With all the drastic changes in that song, however, “Wicked Wisdom” could be four songs in one, though it goes about these changes seamlessly. “For Our Elegant Caste” is probably the most explicit song, as it largely focuses on bisexuality. If you are able to get over the subject matter, the song is irresistible, especially its chorus. “Id Engager” goes more along with typical Of Montreal form with the layered vocals, heavy synthesizer and overall feel of the song. While I love “Skeletal Lamping,” the weakest song of the album is “Death Is Not a Parallel Move.” Its echoing, monotone singing in the first half is slightly haunting. The second half turns into more of a song, though it is not on the same level as the rest of the album. If you are new to Of Montreal, I would also strongly recommend two of their previous albums, “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” and “The Sunlandic Twins,” which are both even stronger than “Skeletal Lamping.” No one I have ever played these albums for has ever disliked them. No one is immune to such good music. Grade: 5+