July 10, 2013

Song Review: of Montreal's "fugitive air"

It wasn't so much of the schizophrenic wonderbluss that was Skeletal Lamping as much as it was the high-gloss production, R&B shimmying and Solange collabs on 2010's False Priest or last year's over-stuffed funk Paralytic Stalks than began to decay AwkwardSound's interest in of Montreal, but on the forthcoming full-length from the weirdo psych-pop workhorses, an orginizational reboot and retreat to simpler designs might just steal away a much-desired return to form for Kevin Barnes and his latest assembly of cohorts. lousy with sylvianbriar is of Montreal's 12th full-length effort, arriving October 20th on Polyvinyl, and as the story in the press release behind the LP reads, Barnes consciously overhauled his songwriting process for this go by dismissing modern computer recording tools and recording a host of new songs inspired by a pilgrimage to San Francisco live on tape back in his home base of Athens alongside Deerhunter producer Drew Vandenberg. "fugitive air" is its first preview, and for anyone who still finds themselves reaching for anything from of Montreal's early catalog beginning with Cherry Tree and spanning into their 2005 breakthrough The Sunlandic Twins, it's a familiar sunny mortuary of brightly jangled '60s psych-pop and Bowie-esque glam that could easily turn lousy with sylvianbriar into that era's proper follow-up if its balance is as self-assured. Yet, Kevin Barnes, being the constant evolutionist he is after all this time, isn't the same frontman as he was then. His quick wit sure fits better when bent around the sunbeams, but yesterday's hollow echoes are delivered more like scraps of punk rubbish paralleling fellow Georgian Bradford Cox on his recent garage textile reconstruction Monomania. As intentionally dirtied Barnes' most recent former life may have become here, "fugitive air" at the very least breathes some real life back into of Montreal's shape-shifting art.

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