Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rise and shine!

When is a band not a band? When it's one guy who can play guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, synth, sing and do all the vocal harmonies, write killer lyrics & arrange 14 of the finest pop-rock nuggets of 2004. Meet Kevin Barnes, the one-man mentalist behind the joyous, immense, rapturous, and secretly melancholic Of Montreal - and we're here to talk about their absolute stone-cold, knock 'em dead, indisputable ten-out-of-ten masterpiece Satanic Panic In The Attic. Y'see, dear reader, I was once an indie yokel snob - I thought sincere, mute white troupes of socialists playing lengthy elegies about hope represented the pinaccle of musical achievement - and that sixties-indebted modern psych-pop could be nothing more than a bunch of XTC fans with wonky haircuts playing incredibly homosexual chords on a guitar with a flute solo. Well, bugger me sideways - that is actually GOOD MUSIC. Except there are no flute solos. THOUGH COME TO THINK OF IT.



It's different from the previous efforts by this band/guy - yeah, it's happy with melancholy lyrics (with extremely difficult lines to imagine how they're sung upon reading) and it generally doesn't follow typical structures of regular pop/rock songs, and the chords are way different - like jazz or some other heathen music, but like I said, GOOD. As an extremely limited songwriter of no lyrical excellence and a quite ham-fisted method of playing every instrument except guitar, I find it endlessly amazing how they remember to do all the shit they do on this record - take a song like 'Lysergic Bliss' - big, long, swooping opening section that sounds like a tape left in a Stonecutter's dinner - then into a swinging, faintly Belle & Sebastian like guitar line, with all these tripped-out, bucolic backing vocals popping up here and there, starting a line one bar after Barnes does, creating this never ending patchwork of vocals - then the song disappears into a teacher reminding a class to 'remember their breathing...1 2 3 4' - ending with this frankly stunning cut and paste section made, for 32 bars at least, entirely of Barnes' voice - then some instruments come in to ice the cake, and it's over, inside three and a half minutes. The other thirteen-fourteenths of this record are just as good.

But yeah: you need this record, because it'll put that record by those miserable fuckers with the thin singer and the leather jacket to shame, and make you feel like tonalism and lyrical dexterity and happiness and not revealing oneself fully despite being quite candid are all pretty much the thing to be doing. This isn't hyperbole. This record destroys. Nicely.

Disconnect The Dots MP3
Lysergic Bliss MP3
OF MONTREAL DOT NET

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Everyone - come to the Firefly in Leicester tomorrow (20th) for Throwaway Style DJs + two of the finest bands in the North West of England - surf rock leviathans The VCs, and Dischord-indebted iron hulks The Beat Poet - for some paltry fee you can afford, slice of the door action goes to helping those poor wretches in Asia.

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