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Of Montreal

lousy with sylvianbriar

Of Montreal
7
Over the past decade, Of Montreal leader Kevin Barnes has explored futuristic realms of funked-up experimentalism, but Lousy with Sylvianbriar represents a deliberate about-face. The album was tracked to tape, mostly live-off-the-floor, and the songs sound like Barnes has been indulging in a steady diet of classic rock. We hear the rollicking energy of electric-era Dylan, the scrappy blues of the Stones and the harmony-kissed sweetness of CSNY. Of course, this is Barnes we're talking about, so the results are still decidedly off-kilter. For one, the lyrics are unsettling — a woman bears her "withered old titty" on the slide-laced "Fugitive Air," while the droopy-eyed "Colossus" is a harrowing tale of familial suicide. (And while we're on the subject of words, what the hell is "sylvianbriar"?) The melodies, meanwhile, avoid obvious hooks, in favour of tension and knotty complexity. This rescues Lousy with Sylvianbriar from dreary rockism — even when Barnes embraces old-school techniques, he's still a weirdo at heart. (Polyvinyl)
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