I’ll admit it. I was getting pretty bored with Of Montreal’s glitter dance party that lasted for about a year too long. A fan of the band since the beginning, I will admit that I have enjoyed every second of their career, but things were starting to get a little repetitive. This is where False Priest (Polyvinyl) comes in. Out with the old and in with the new. They’ve traded in most of their glitz and glam for some 1970s flare. And it’s working. Even though the album isn’t released until September 14th, it has been one of the most anticipated records of the year. One really good decision the band made when making this record was bringing in an outside producer. Not that frontman Kevin Barnes hasn’t been doing a fantastic job at making their records, but sometimes a cook from another kitchen is needed, you know? That is where musican extraordinare, Jon Brion, comes in. The band worked with him to produce some of the most amazing tracks in their career so far. There has also been a few lineup changes in the band like the addition of a few more members to carry their studio sound to the stage, and long time drummer, James Husband, has left the band to pursue his solo career.
Starting with the track “I Feel Ya Stutter,” which could scare a lot of fans away at first, is a witty song. I’m not sure if there is any other way to explain it. The harmonies of Kevin’s voice for the most part are spot on. For the next track, “Our Riotous Effect,” he even does a little ‘rap talk,’ in there which oddly fits well.
Lets get one thing straight before we go any further. Barnes somehow can do no wrong. It’s pretty impossible. He is like the Madonna of indie rock. He’s always changing and somehow it always comes out perfectly.
The first single “Coquet Coquette,” which has been floating around on the Of Montreal live set circut for quite a while, is one of those songs you will want to put on repeat. It’s highly dancable and kind of sums up the whole entire record. Fun, witty, and makes you want to shake your ass. The guitar riffs in particular are extremely memorable, as they should be.
“Godly Intersex,” is a bit of an oddball at part, but it still works. Even when he sings the lyrics “We danced for miscarriages,” you can tell it’s a Barnes trademark lyric. They don’t always make sense at first glance but you know there is some underlying meaning behind it that will eat you alive until you find it out. “Enemy Gene,” features the artsy Janelle Monae who has been opening for the band and joining them onstage for the past year or so. It is a spacey and haunting song that still makes you want to dance. The bassline is very prominant in this track and emphasises the tone of the song.
“Hydra Fancies,” is a song that reeks 1970s. And that is a good thing, because that is the sound that Barnes and company were going for and it’s exactly what they were able to create. This album ends up being no less than flawless in many senses of the way.”Like a Tourist,” makes me feel like Dottie Alexander should start whipping out a keytar on stage more often (please?).The band really starts to come alive on this track, and I mean the whole band, guitar solos and all.
Up next is “Sex Karma,” that features Beyonce’s little sister, Solange. I’ll admit that the first time I saw them perform this onstage with her I was not extremely impressed. Though maybe I would have been in better spirits if I I wasn’t being beaten up by 1,000 16 year olds that happened to attend the show that night. Together on this track, Knowles’ and Barnes’ voices blend perfectly, like they were born to duet with each other. It actually made me wish she was on more than one song on the record.
“Girl Named Hello,” Barnes takes his voice down a few pitches and tries to turn into the nitty gritty rock and roll of the past though the music itself tends to be classic Of Montreal which of course, is superb. “Famine Affair,” fits in the same vein as the prior track, and though these songs differ slightly from the first few songs, it all fits together without missing a beat.
“Casualty of You,” starts out with a piano sound that will make you feel like you are going to be murdered in your apartment but then turns out to be one of the sweetest sounding songs that the band has ever created…or perhaps in indie music in general. To me this sounds like the records my parents listened to when I was a kid in the 80’s from when they were teenagers in the 70’s. Many of you know what I’m talking about, it’s very much a feeling, an echo in the piano, an emotion in the voice. It’s a familar sound in the best way possible.
“Around the Way,” brings the record back up to full dance status and the harmonies kick in again that make the song fill the room. This whole track fills the room actually so blare it loud. “You Do Mutilate?” the 7-minute track ends the record in Of Montreal style, blending most of the elements from the record into one song. That is one of the greatest thing about this band. They can touch on so many subjects and musical styles but can make it all sound as one big collaboration.
False Priest is perfect. Of Montreal hit the nail on the head again, but that’s no surprise at all, is it?