of Montreal - False Priest
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Release Date: September 14, 2010
When pop cultured, mass-media saturated music fans take a moment to look back across the Kevin Barnes fronted indie-pop band of Montreal's discography escapades, it is both perplexing and astonishing that they have managed to make it to their tenth record (and in a mere thirteen years). From the Beatles inspired groups unoriginal origins on debut Cherry Peel (1997) to an unexpected change to electronic blitzkrieg pop on Satanic Panic in The Attic (2004), the band then managed to soldier on to even more extreme changes with the ultra electrifying sex spasm that was Skeletal Lamping (2008). With no foreseeable answer to “what next?” they pick up just where their previous record left off, and with a shrill scream return with the line “I see ya’ girlfriend!/I got so lucky with you” on "I Feel Ya’ Strutter". Around now you know it’s time to embrace your inner False Priest, or go get your bible!
The gender and genre bending music that is scattered on this record varies from sporadically chilly to fear inducing shiny guitar/keyboard breakdowns. Kevin’s voice is an instrument all in itself with whispering, talking, squawking and just downright vocal noise being an accompanying piece to his ever erratic singing style. The tunes are a lot more structured than on the previous effort and even contain some possible mainstream hits with the first single "Coquet Coquette" and "Sex Karma (feat. Solange Knowles)" standing out as real catchy gems, and even lyrically the themes seem now slightly more accessible for casual listeners “Don’t treat me like a tourist/Let’s stay high on a negative wave/And paint it black just like the good times”. Although only slightly more accessible, with stand out spoken wording of “Female erection” and “You killed my beta fish/You just threw it out the window” coming to mind.
The glistened hi-fi clarity brought to the table by producer Jon Brion is a welcome addition for fans and the extra six month wait for the disk is justified here on the excellently produced sounds. More than ever the likening to early Prince is notable with the spunky “Like a Tourist” paying homage to the high pitched singer, along with the new introduction of an R&B vein on the album. The R&B vibe is made more apparent when looking at the two female featuring artists that are the fresh faced Janelle Monáe, and the somewhat more weathered Solange Knowles. A lot of hype had been placed around the addition of these featuring artists, but both artists work well as a vocal contrast.
It’s not all good news however with the travesty that is “You Do Mutilate?” sticking out like a sore thumb as a closing track. The closing minute of the almost seven minute tune just has to be heard to be believed. Honestly, how the hell did this imitation black transvestite terrorism speech make it into a song? Overall the album is definitely a more coherent effort, but fails to impact this time around with the in-depth lyrics that of Montreal have become known for. The production certainly stands for something and with each tune being a debated favourite by one fan or another there is an indie-pop song waiting here for everyone. Could of Montreals time in the spot light be coming soon? Possibly.