Of Montreal: The Sweet With The Sour
Of Montreal's early releases were loaded with playful but confessional acoustic tunes, but the band soon embraced glam-rock's freakier side on albums like Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer? and Skeletal Lamping. It was a shift fans might not have tolerated if it weren't for frontman Kevin Barnes' catchy, personality-driven songs.
With "Dour Percentage," from the new Paralytic Stalks, personality is no less important, but electronics have taken a backseat. Of Montreal's usual blend of bouncy synthetics has been replaced by arranged horns, woodwinds and piano. Though the instrumentation sounds more refined on its 11th album, the band still shows a youthful hunger for fun, producing a track that's danceable like a disco hit, but twice as flirty.
Barnes' falsetto vocals continue to flow like auditory honey, but his words still convey disturbing undercurrents. But if Of Montreal has been able to maintain a focus on anything throughout its unpredictable career, it's that uncanny ability to mix the sweet with the sour.
This story originally ran on Feb. 7, 2012.
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