Published Aug 10, 2016of Montreal have been undergoing a slight identity crisis this past decade. After 2010's False Priest shot for muddy R&B and 2012's Paralytic Stalks ventured into dark experimental music, the Athens, Georgia quintet reached back to sunnier times for their last two albums, recreating their kaleidoscopic '90s-era sound for 2013's Lousy With Sylvianbriar and their sunny '00 days for 2015's Aureate Gloom. It's thus understandable that one might approach Innocence Reaches, the band's 14th LP, with a level of scepticism.
Influenced, according to songwriter and vocalist Kevin Barnes, by the EDM, IDM and indie pop sounds of artists like Jack Ü, Arca and Chairlift, Innocence Reaches finds of Montreal piling on layers of dense beats, left-field rhythms and low-end synth to their eternally groovy sound. But aside from the album's few electro-saturated tracks (which make up most of the album's standout material) — "Let's Relate," "It's Different for Girls" and "Trashed Exes" — Innocence Reaches still bears the positive traits that characterize most of Montreal albums released in the past decade: Barnes' lyrics still come off heartbreakingly confessional ("Ambassador Bridge"), his melodies are sometimes still too crowded ("Def Pacts") and there are old-fashioned guitar leads in "Gratuitous Abysses" and "Les Chants de Maldoror."
Throughout the album's 12 tracks, of Montreal manage to come off inspired, inventive, re-energized and wide-eyed on Innocence Reaches, utilizing new sounds rather than rehashing old ideas. (Polyvinyl)