Rhythm & Views

Of Montreal

Nearly every song title on Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? sounds like it came straight out of a William S. Burroughs novel: "We Were Born the Mutants Again With Leafling," "Labyrinthian Pomp," etc.

This kind of dreamlike abstraction is nothing new for Of Montreal; their last album, The Sunlandic Twins, had titles like "Forecast Fascist Future." And like The Sunlandic Twins and Satanic Panic in the Attic before it, Hissing Fauna continues with songwriter Kevin Barnes' explorations of dance music. But here, the similarities stop.

Hissing Fauna's lyrics are more autobiographical, and while the kind of dancing one might do to The Sunlandic Twins would most likely involve quick leaps and flailings, dancing to Hissing Fauna would look cooler, smoother and sexier. When Barnes hits the word "forget" on the chorus of "Gronlandic Edit," his voice hits a note so high, the '80s jump over the '90s and slap our current decade across the ass.

The synth melody on "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger" morphs into chimes, and the buzzing on "Cato as a Pun" blends into a seagull-like call that hearkens the verse. But over all of these exuberant melodies are lyrics like, "I'm in a crisis, I need help, c'mon mood, shift, shift back to good again" ("Heimsdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"). The result is songs that dance the depression out--even the 12-minute-long "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" dives into a Seventeen Seconds-like cathartic trance. Hissing Fauna outdoes The Sunlandic Twins; direct your attention to the Georges Bataille reference in the aforementioned song.

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