Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hissing Fauna: The Kevin Barnes Experience

The most exciting albums are ones that flow seamlessly, creating a story with each passing song. An album doesn't need a concept to succeed as such - in fact that can often bog it down. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - the new record from Of Montreal is loose in its concept, but compelling and addictive in its flow. Opener "Suffer For Fashion" rings with a sense of urgency, while establishing the loops, tricks and humor that will define the album. Of Montreal's albums have steadily been moving away from basic indiepop to more experimental dance fair, highlighted by last year's remix album, Satanic Twins. Hissing Fauna is the vision of that movement fully realized. Songs frequently lead into one another, weighing heavily on dance-floor friendly beats and tongue-in-cheek lyrics sometimes too clever for their own good. Kevin Barnes - the brainchild behind the band - is frequently wearing his influences on his sleeve, from the Beatle-esque harmonies and Sgt. Pepper's production values to his Ziggy Stardust nasal.

On "Labrynthian Pomp," he seems to be out-scissoring the Scissor Sisters before leaping to a Dark Side of the Moon-like atmosphere. It is in the lyrics however that Barnes completes this hipster bible of the future - musing on "Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse," "I guess it would be nice/ to give myself to a God/ but which one/ which one do I choose/ Oh, the church is filled with losers/ Psycho and confused." Elsewhere, on "She's a Rejector" and "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider," he's simply hung up on women at dance parties. I don't know how much time Barnes actually spends at dance parties, but he's certainly created a pop record that sounds just too for cool for just about everyone. Even him.

Purchase Hissing Fauna at iTunes


Allison said...

I agree that this ablum is slowly addictive. I find that a lot with the music I've been listening to lately...Bloc Party, The Shins, and Swan Lake. All albums grew on me with time.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Despite the uber-pretentiousness of the title(s), I quite like this. A lot more fun than one would expect.