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Bizarre but boundary
breaking contexts

of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 8, 2007
of Montreal

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Contrary to the band's moniker, of Montreal figurehead Kevin Barnes was actually born in Athens, Georgia, and naturally like many from that city, R.E.M.'s early years seem to have rubbed off on him. But to blindly compare these indie rockers to Michael Stipe and company would certainly be a mistake given this act's much more experimental, quirky and sometimes sarcastic approach that wouldn't quite cater to the "Loosing My Religion" crowd. And while those circumstances haven't allowed of Montreal to break the big time (despite a ten year history together), the band's amassed an incredibly rabid underground following that's enjoyed a variety of unconventional explorations (including a cheekily titled catalogue that includes the other Polyvinyl releases Satanic Panic in the Attic and The Sunlandic Twins).

However, close followers of the group hoping for a carbon copy of those releases will likely be in for a few surprises, particularly with the lyrical shift between all sorts of random (and often times comical) observations to a much more personal account of Barnes' emotions. Though it may seem out of character for him to expose intimate inter-workings, the last few years have found the singer/songwriter experiencing a marriage, new child and bouts with depression. Even with the weighty nature of such topics, none of the track titles indicate such intimate thoughts, while the insuring lo-fi expressions still leave room for shoe gazing sing-a-longs.

"Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" is framed as a carefree piano pop ditty, despite lyrics steeped in crisis, while "Suffer For Fashion" evokes a dirtier version of new wave throughout mumblings about burn out. For "She's a Rejecter," the tone turns much more aggressive, incorporating snarling but muffled guitars over a thumping dance beat, though the tones are tuned down come the much more brooding "Cato As a Pun." Yet even with this far reaching sonic and lyrical undertaking, it's important to note this album isn't for everyone and is likely to go over the heads of those who haven't heard of Montreal prior to this project. But for those who do take time to invest, they'll be treated to an instrumental mash-up of deep meaning and relatable issues, placed in bizarre but boundary breaking contexts on all planes.

Watch of Montreals' -
"Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse" video

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