Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping

RIYL: Elephant 6 bands, Electro Dance Pop, Sigmund Freud

The first time I ever heard Of Montreal, I was dumbfounded. Listening to the childish pop ballads performed by Kevin Barnes just made me happy. His songs were the epitome of cute. As I’ve been following them over the years, their style has evolved into a new genre of very eclectic dance pop. Their last release Hissing Fauna… was an electronic lost-love ballad from start to end, showing raw emotion in a usually emotionless genre. Again, their latest release is pushing the boundaries, possibly even too far.

Kevin Barnes and his self proclaimed black she-male alter ego, Georgie Fruit, are given complete freedom on Skeletal Lamping. The album follows an almost free verse of sexual references that are going through his brain. Even the extremely fragmented songs give you the feel of a psychological voyage. Whether the music changes from fast to slow, happy to sad, or even sexy to ugly, you really never know where you’re going to end up. Some tracks go as far as having eight different transitions.

Though this is all intriguing, it truly gets old. Most of the songs contain really good sections, but usually also contain many annoying, or just filler parts. It’s just not that listenable after long.

My favorite track, “An Eluardian Instance” is truly pop greatness. Yet even the best tracks cannot make up for many of the just plain forgettable parts of this album. I’m glad Mr. Barnes feels free enough to create such an experiment, and I truly respect him for making such an honest album. It’s just that the overt sexuality and shattered remnants of songs he presents here seem to lack what his former albums have.

As an Of Montreal fan, I will definitely be excited to see where they go from here. Skeletal Lamping I believe will likely be remembered as a speed bump along their travels, wherever they might take us.

-Michael Vaughn

Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping