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Of Montreal has amassed a large fan base as a result of their acclaimed 2007 record Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. They shifted from an originally Elephant 6 sound to a more accessible electronica-pop modulation. Although they might have changed their instruments to accommodate Kevin Barnes' vision, the underlying musical ideas still go hand-in-hand with bands like Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Elf Power. Toward the end of his 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, frontman Kevin Barnes introduced his inner alter-ego named Georgie Fruit. One year later, this alter-ego is completely entrenched in the album Skeletal Lamping, turning it into a conglomeration of experimental R&B, glam rock, and Scissor Sisters-styled sex-funk.
Just as puzzling as his alter-ego, Georgie Fruit, is the album. Skeletal Lamping is elaborate and extravagant. Every song is composed of multiple snippets of musical ideas, sometimes juxtaposing ideas that are completely different in style. Some songs spill into others connecting effortlessly and unrestrained.
So is the album good or bad? Unfortunately it's not that clear-cut. Songs like "Nonpareil Of Favor" illustrate Barnes' attempt to throw every misconstruing idea into a pot, expecting Hissing Fauna. One might enjoy some of the segments, but as a whole it doesn't give you the sugary melodies seen in his previous albums. However, songs like "An Eluardian Instance" shine brightly out of the album as one of his best pieces of musical artwork. By using an array of instruments to convey several musical parts of the abstract, Barnes creates a cheeky pop, self-indulgent masterpiece.
It all comes down to whether or not one is willing to tolerate Barnes' unstrained ambition toward "the beyond." Depending on your musical patience, Skeletal Lamping can be an irresistibly polarizing album or, for you more conservative types, an overly pretentious album reeking of self-accolade.
Check out the band's video for "Id Engager" below!