of Montreal : Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/ofmontreal.jpg" alt=" " />Of Montreal, the five-piece LSD tab from Athens, GA is back with the eighth installation of their increasingly digitally strange psych-pop.   <i>Hissing Fauna, Are You...
8.8 Polyvinyl

of Montreal : Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?Of Montreal, the five-piece LSD tab from Athens, GA is back with the eighth installation of their increasingly digitally strange psych-pop.   Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? features a wild array of electronics, from downtempo to dance, as a smooth progression of their previous releases.
As singer Kevin Barnes was still strongly in charge of the production, there’s a mighty robust set of digi-quipment supporting the sound.  Drum machines, acid-laced keyboards, and affected vocals dominate the album in a variety of shapes and moods, but the same cheer remains as the staple of what makes Of Montreal such an intriguingly elaborate band.

The majority of the album is a hazy, synth-laced alt-dance adventure, but with a wide variety of tempos and intensities – especially considering two of the most noticeable tracks are one and eleven minutes long.  As if to tease listeners, the opening track, “Suffer For Fashion” begins with a pluck and two strums before diving into a romping dance at “130 BPM” hoping to “melt down together”.  It quickly drops into the short, foggy throwback, “Sink the Seine”.   After a relatively melancholy “Cato As A Pun”, Hissing Fauna bounces into “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse” – a piano-based, up-looking fanfare where Barnes begs the pace back up (“Come on mood/Shift/Shift back to good again”).  Within four tracks, the album has already strongly cooled and reheated the pace.

At this point, the doors are open for anything, and Barnes coasts right on through.  “Gronlandic Edit” snaps and grooves along calmly then pushes into the electro-tweaked Scandanavian orchestration of “A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger”.  The refrain’s beat side-steps on the dancefloor like ABBA would if their shoes were greasy.   Then Hissing Fauna takes a long, strange twist.  “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal” is a near-twelve-minute, stormy grind through a bad recollection of a failed romance.  It’s like going up a one-degree incline for several miles, as the landscape twists and spins outside the window.  In some ways it feels like a massive release of energy, but in the other ways, as the end of the song is the most chaotic, it feels like no resolution at all.  It’s a skillfully simple, enigmatic centerpiece of the album.

The latter third of the album doesn’t let up, stuffed with four-minute, magnetic gems.  “Bunny Ain’t No Kind Of Rider” begins as a laser-guided hop but after that, constantly changes.  When Barnes sings “You ain’t got no soul power”, the melody’s remniscient of the Flaming Lips singing “With all your power”.  “Faberge Falls For Shuggie” is a falsetto-splashed lounge groove, and if it involves the name “Shuggie”, it’s got to be good.  “She’s a Rejector” is grindy, industrial cruiser that rolls out on a monotonous, but effective, organ into “We Were Born The Mutants Again With Leafling”, a mellowed, soft keyboard jog occasionally broken by europop vocals.  It’s a subdued note to the end album on, but after all that the album goes through beforehand, it’s probably best that way.

While not as steakhouse-friendly as their past material, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? is as distinctively inventive, perhaps going out on even more limbs this time.  It does nothing but Kevin Barnes’ vast electronic experimentation reflects immense talent and production ability, and regardless of who the music appeals to, any time someone hears a clip, their ears will surely perk.  When it comes to recognition, Of Montreal’s like the elephant (6?) in the room that nobody really talks about, and Hissing Fauna does nothing but solidify their legacy as progressive pop-pushers.

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