Review: Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Kevin Barnes was on a roll. After some disruptive personnel changes his band, Of Montreal, had settled down. He got married, his wife joined the band and and his previous two albums had garnered solid critical praise. He moved to Norway, his wife’s home country, because that’s where she wanted their daughter to be born.
And then his life went straight into the toilet. He became depressed and moved back the States; his wife split and moved back to Norway. She took their daughter with her. Bad times.
Barnes responded with Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? If you can’t handle an angry, bitter, unhappy, frustrated, confused, depressed man, stay away from this CD because Barnes exorcises his demons through exposure. So, is this another /wrist collection of whiny emo? Not a bit of it. Barnes sounds like the ’60s psych-pop and ’70s glam-disco bastard offspring of Sgt. Pepper and the Scissor Sisters. (“For the Benefit of Mr. Baby(‘s)daddy”?, maybe, but definately not “Comfortably Numb”). And he pulls it off brilliantly. The music is often thoughtfully layered, carefully constructed, hook laden and irresistably catchy. At times the aggressive, angry lyric is matched by the music as on “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” which is essentially a 12 minute crescendo. At others, the bitterness of the lyric stands in sharp contrast to an effervescent melody and bouncy arrangement.
Hissing Fauna has been called a departure from Barnes’ previous work with Of Montreal. I can’t comment on that because I’m not very familiar with his earlier CDs. Although after listening to this, that’s about to change On Hissing Fauna he comes across as an intelligent, talented, self-absorbed drama queen. I’m sorry his life turned as sour as it did but thankful that he he took it as an opportunity to produce such a fine album. Don’t be surprised to see this one on more than a few Best-of-the-Year lists come December.
More tracks from the “Hissing Fauna” sessions can be found on “Icons, Abstract Thee“
1 Comment »