Montag Going Places

At first glance, the track listing for Going Places by Montag (the nom de plume of Vancouverite Antoine Bédard) reads like a hip-hop album, with a sizeable array of guest musicians contributing their talents to all but a couple of tracks. It’s quite an impressive list, featuring M83’s Anthony Gonzales, Owen Pallett, Ghislain Poirier, Victoria Legrand of Beach House and past Montag collaborator Amy Millan. However, Going Places isn’t quite the exercise in electro crosspollination one might expect, as each player’s contribution is decidedly understated — a backup vocal here, a few extra beats or keyboard part there. It’s debatable whether some of these collaborations are entirely necessary, but what is certain is that it is a significantly poppier album than its fine predecessor, 2005’s Alone, Not Alone. However, the more overt forays into pop territory don’t offer much to write home about: "Best Boy Electric” is almost twee by numbers and "No One Else” isn’t quite the sweeping M83 anthem it wants to be. Instead, it’s when Bédard strikes a balance between the off-kilter ambience exhibited on Alone, Not Alone and this newly discovered pop aesthetic that the record works best. Thankfully, there are more instances where this balance is struck than otherwise, with lovely, layered and building tunes like "Mechanical Kids” or "Alice” leading the way. Can’t wait any longer for the new Caribou to come out? Going Places should tide you over nicely until then. (Carpark)