Of Montreal Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse

Kevin Barnes and his merry band have been refining their idea of imaginative pop song structure for about four years now, although Barnes has been the purveyor of all of the group's content. On Coquelicot, which Barnes classifies as the "first true 'band' record we have ever made" (although he is still credited with all of the songwriting), Of Montreal manage to find a band vision, at least for a little while. These twenty-two tracks total 70 minutes in length, a chore for the most patient of listeners. The album appeals immediately from the outset. "Good Morning Mr. Edminton" and "Peacock Parasols" bounce along happily with brilliant fuzzy bass lines leading us back into the group's fairy tale-like existence. An added element to the stew this time is the presence of gorgeous slow ballads such as "It's A Very Starry Night," "A Dreamy Day of Daydreaming of You" and "It's Just So," each of which are led by soft piano lines recalling such balladeers as Harry Nilsson or Paul McCartney. This new step once again reassures me that Kevin Barnes is a talented songsmith, but as in the past, the album miscues often enough to disappoint. The tortuous spoken word bits, such as the detective story on "The Events Leading up to the Collapse of Detective Dulllight," are annoying steps back into the band's D&D-style goofiness and an insult to the quality of most of the band's content. Coquelicot contains some of the best songs I've heard all year, and would have been an incredible musical ride with a few edits and omissions. (Kindercore)