Paralytic StalksAlbum |
Pretentious, sprawling album wastes Kevin Barnes' gifts.
There's no doubt that Athens, GA indie pop veterans Of Montreal can write one killer of a psychedelic, off-the-wall record. Their best release to date, 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer, featured a number of sugar-coated, futuristic pop songs, along with the jaw-dropping twelve-minute romp, "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal." But three records later, Kevin Barnes and company have fallen victim to many of the same progressive tendencies that once made them so fascinating. The frontman went on record calling Paralytic Stalks "esoteric," and well, that's putting it nicely. Aside from the spry "Spiteful Intervention," Paralytic Stalks sprawls out in countless directions while seldom giving thought to order and cohesion. Its last four tracks, all of which clock in at over seven minutes, surely mark some of the group's most ambitious work to date. It's unfortunate that they're also among their most pretentious. And for a band like Of Montreal, prone to writing lines like "Now I live in fear of your schizophrenic genius, it's a tempestuous despot that I can't seem to propitiate" (in "Malefic Dowery"), this can make for one clunker of a record. Eleven albums on from their 1997 debut, there's no doubt Of Montreal have surpassed most of their Elephant 6 cohorts in reinvention and longevity; it just seems Barnes is in need of a few deep breaths.
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