of Montreal is the type of music college radios love. It’s the stuff dads hear and worry their children are smoking too much pot. Let’s put it this way: if Eric Foreman’s basement took a break from Zepplin and Hendrix for a mellower tune, it would be for the funky pop of of Montreal.
The band released their 12th album, Lousy with Sylvianbriar, on Tuesday. In the oftentimes unusual genre of indie rock, of Montreal manages to remain one of the strangest groups out there. In concert they frequently rock ridiculous costumes and play trippy videos that make concertgoers feel like they are in an alternate universe.
The fact that there is a song on this album called “Raindrop in My Skull” is a testament to how hilariously awesome of Montreal is. It would be easy to write them off as just a goofy band, which of course they are, but what makes of Montreal special is their creepily beautiful harmonies and strange lyrics. The lyrics don’t always go together; it’s mostly rambling prettily over melodies, but the ramblings are well-written.
“Belle Glade Missionaries” is one of the most dynamic songs on the album. of Montreal is generally a very upbeat and cheery band, but this song provides ironic social messages: “The blade missionaries are here to steal your cocaine / You better send your malaria to puncture their brains / And send them back to where they came from / Send them back to the souvenirs of disease.”
Okay, where the hell is Belle Glade? It’s in Florida and was once considered the HIV capital of the World. Many evangelical Christian groups take mission trips to Belle Glade to promote their beliefs. “Belle Glade Missionaries” is of Montreal’s call to the missionaries to leave poor Belle Glade alone. Though no one ever accused alternative music of not having a conscious, “Belle Glade Missionaries” is a nicely done satirical reminder that music can promote social justice.
The entire album is very reminiscent of The Beatles — the later Beatles who had discovered what psychedelic drugs were. “She Ain’t Speakin’ Now” sounds like of Montreal’s version of the Beatles “Helter Skelter” — a trippy disco pop version.
“Triumph of Disintegration” brings back the lovely “ooh oohs” of of Montreal’s previous work. What makes them such an enjoyable listen is the detailed and hilarious lyrics: “What is the flaw in just running away / Running away fixes everything / Why should I stay / Just to view the triumph of disintegration.”
of Montreal is constantly on a mellow psychedelic trip. They are completely ridiculous and hipster-friendly, but it’s such a fun ride that it’s worth going along with them. Each song title, from “Obsidian Currents” to “Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit” sounds like the title of a poem written by the mean kid in writing class who only wears black and critiques everyone else’s work for not being deep enough. But because of Montreal makes such joyous and spirited music, the titles work. Though this album is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, it doesn’t present anything new or any music that delves away from their previous work. It’s definitely worth a listen, but it’s not a life changing album.
3.5 out of 5 stars