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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Critical Lamping

posted by on October 21 at 9:36 AM


That new Of Montreal album, Skeletal Lamping, is out today in a variety of whimsical formats. Pitchfork doesn’t think much of it, giving it a 5.9/10 due in large part, it seems, to the album’s unusual structure, in which some songs fragment into two or three distinct passages while others bleed into each other to create continuous suites. For me, that’s not such an issue, and while I might not rate Skeletal Lamping as highly as Hissing Fauna when end-of-year list-making time rolls around, I’m still pretty enamored with it right now.

One thing’s been bugging me though: there’s an isolated vocal melody at 2:09 of “For Our Elegant Caste” (pitchfork: “one of the most annoying choruses of the year”) that I swear is from some ELO number on the Xanadu soundtrack (I mean that as a compliment)—only, I can’t find that melody anywhere. Am I just hallucinating? Or is it only kind of stylistically similar? (My hunch is that Georgie Fruit has at least watched Xanadu a time or two.)

Bonus: Stranger columnist Michaelangelo Matos gives the album a kinder consideration for Salon, despite the inevitable Flaming Lips comparison (I never made room for this argument in my review of their show, but here goes: Of Montreal > Flaming Lips [at least from the perspective of 2008]).

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Of Montreal makes me sad. I used to love his stuff so much, but I feel he lost the thread with Fauna, and Skeletal is even worse. The stupid characters (which I feel are borderline offensive) and the interviews he gives really show there isn't some deeper meaning. He said in his Pitchfork interview that he is a black tranny and an 8 year old Chinese girl, etc. No, sweety, you're not. You're a white guy who plays with a bunch of other white people to predominately white audiences. And his explanation, or deeper social commentary on his appropriations? Ummm, he doesn't really give one other than he's run out of ideas.
I'm surprised how tired the last two albums sound. He seems like he's simply going through the motions frantically trying to sound like he's having fun, which is anything but fun. I miss the days when he was just some guy with an amazing gift for melody writing great pop songs for himself. Pitchfork was correct, his musical output has become nothing more than empty soundtracks to his convoluted stage shows. I've come to the end of my ride with Of Montreal. But we'll always have Antarctica...

Posted by can do | October 21, 2008 4:33 PM

Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree - sort of - with can do @1, and I haven't even heard all of this new album. "Hissing" was OK, but both "Sunlandic" and "Satanic" are much better. "Sunlandic" is the peak of post-twee Of Montreal.

I'm rambling, but I guess what I'm saying is I can see in Kevin's interviews, his actions, his output, etc., that he seems to have more interest in being "interesting" than writing great music. I have everything up through "Hissing," and I love everything up through "Sunlandic," but I'm really having trouble finding the motivation to buy "Skeletal Lamping."

Oh well.

Posted by me too | October 26, 2008 8:32 PM

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