Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Release Date: January 23, 2007
Record Label: Polyvinyl Records
Indie darlings Of Montreal have had a lengthy career, which kicked off ten years ago in 1997. The then-trio’s debut, Cherry Peel, was a stripped-down pop masterpiece recalling big names such as The Beatles. Since then, Of Montreal have released seven more full-length albums, including 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Despite the profusion of music from the band, they promise to bring something new to the table each and every time; no two Of Montreal releases are the same, and that is why they remain on top of their game.
The new album is a lesson in high-octane pop, with Kevin Barnes and company driving the point home throughout the 51-minute acid trip. “Heimsdalgate Like a Promethean Curse” is a bubble-gum pop song with a nearly unpronounceable title. For the curious, Heimsdalgate is the street where Barnes and his family live in Oslo, Norway, where the album was written and mostly recorded. “Gronlandic Edit” is an introspective pulsating visit to another world of music. Featuring an electronic accompaniment more reminiscent of OK Go than Of Montreal, the song draws you in with clipped yet memorable verses before transitioning into a harmonizing falsetto that dances between ear-splitting and soothing. If your interest is not yet piqued, wait for the two-pronged electro-funk aural orgasm of "Faberge Falls for Shuggie" and "Labyrinthian Pomp." With these two songs, most listeners will be convinced that Barnes has taken a leap off the deep end (and judging by his nude performance not long ago, it's possible). If Prince knew what indie rock was, he might just have spit out these two jams twenty years post-Purple Rain. Barnes' musical instinct is certainly wired a bit differently than most, and Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? proves that. The album flows extremely well from one track to the next, and while you may not be able to pronounce the titles or even pick them out of Name That Tune, these songs are some of the best we've heard from Of Montreal.
The album is not perfect, with a few segments running a bit dull or overwrought. However it's nothing if not indulgent, one of the few bands that can do this without coming off as pretentious know-it-alls. Lush melodies, leaping choruses, and quirky vocals all help Of Montreal make an impact with one of the best first-quarter albums of 2007. Hissing Fauna is an album that all of the indie kids will be making babies to for years to come.