The picture above kinda sums them up..
Of Montreal are one of those bands that I don’t listen to all that often, but when I do, I remember how good they are and end up on a binge of them for a few days before stopping entirely and then repeating the process a couple of months down the line. Founded in Georgia in 1996 by Kevin Barnes after a failed relationship with a woman ‘Of Montreal’, the band are of a constantly evolving sound with a constantly changing lineup. Since their original creation they have released an impressive twelve albums.
Naivety may play a part here but I genuinely don’t know of another band that does what they do and sounds like they currently do. They have hints of various other bands within their music, ranging from The Flaming Lips to Broken Social Scene but it is frontman Kevin Barnes vocals that make them really stand out from the others. Kevin often seems to write from his heart, documenting his breakup from his wife and the various internal torments that he has dealt with over the years. A great example of this being, “I tried to love you, truly I tried, to hold you in my arms but you slipped right through me”, from the track ‘If You Feel You Must Go, Don’t Go!’. That doesn’t stop him from having some pretty colourful lyrics either. The lyrics “We can do it softcore if you want? But you should know that I go both ways” on track ‘For Our Elegant Caste’ have to rank highly on that scale.
It was the 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer that first got me into them and even though I’ve followed every release since, I’m yet to delve into any of their previous seven records other than The Bedside Drama which is absolutely amazing and up there with my favourites. After Hissing Fauna, the band stuck with a similar sound for the next few releases. 2008 saw Skeletal Lamping offer more of the same before 2010 saw the release of False Priest which features a couple of guests and also contains some of my favourite Of Montreal songs. Paralytic Stalks was their 11th release back in 2012. It’s decent enough but probably the one that I’ve listened to the least out of the six. That brings us to the present day, with the latest album lousy with sylvianbriar being a lot different their more recent efforts. It finds itself going back to the roots of Of Montreal and becoming much more of a folky acoustic type album but hugely benefiting because of it.
The stand out Of Montreal track is ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’ from the Hissing album. It clocks in at just under 12 minutes in length, is an absolute force to be reckoned with at their live shows and is also the title of their recently released documentary. If you do anything, listen to this track in full. One of the highlights of my year at the Gorilla show.
If You Feel You Must Go, Don’t Go! – The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy
Sing You a Love Song – The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy
Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer
The Past Is A Grotesque Animal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer
She’s A Rejecter – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer
For Our Elegant Caste – Skeletal Lamping
Nonpareil of Favor – Skeletal Lamping
Our Riotous Defects – False Priest
Coquet Coquette – False Priest
Famine Affair – False Priest
We Will Commit Wolf Murder – Paralytic Stalks
Dour Percentage – Paralytic Stalks
Fugitive Air – lousy with sylvianbriar
Belle Glade Missionaries – lousy with sylvianbriar
Colossus – lousy with sylvianbriar
Raindrop In My Skull – lousy with sylvianbriar (The vocal debut for new member Rebecca Cash)