of Montreal - thecontrollersphere EP
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Release Date: April 26, 2011
In 2006, on of Montreal’s heart wrenching cult classic suicidal themed record Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? they secretly laid down the groundwork for their next four years worth of work. I say this, as stealthily hidden away in the song “Faberge Falls for Shuggie” are the stream of conscious-induced lyrics “skeletal lamping/the controller sphere/false priest.” Having received the schizophrenic Skeletal Lamping in 2008 and the arguably more mainstream R&B influenced False Priest in 2010, we are now finally faced with the prospect of completing the sex-infused trilogy of lead singer Kevin Barnes' black transvestite alter ego Georgie Fruit. thecontrollersphere EP finally brings a theatrical death to the second part of of Montreal’s musical escapades with O.M.M.3 (of Montreal Mode 3) hintingly not far on the horizon, and with the end to this traumatic trilogy nobody can dare say it has been a dull journey.
The EP erupts on the five minute long “Black Lion Massacre” with of Montreal treading new ground in the form of a severely dark drum and cymbal led noise track. The track is purposely awkward and in places frantically hard to listen to. The narrator details a battle in which “people slaughtered each other out of joy/murdered their pets/pissed on each other” and the instrumentation personifies this battle until it literally screeches to an end. The experimental track is out of place with the rest of the songs on the record, but a noise track would be out of place on any of Montreal record to date and possibly to come. The following track “Flunkt Sass Vs. The Root Plume” is a perfect continuation on from the closing track “You Do Mutilate?” off of Montreal’s tenth record False Priest, and was composed after the albums completion. The lyricism, vocal distortion and painfully placed instrumentation are a straight up homage to David Bowie, but the track seems to end just as soon as it starts. The main off kilter hook provides the wording “even this ghetto world that has nothing doesn't want me” in typical dramatic style.
The eight minute opus “Holiday Call” arrives mid-EP and is pretty straight forward when compared to some of the longer songs we have received over the last few years from the band. The song is less fragmented than fans have grown accustomed to on longer efforts but it does provide violin and flute breakdowns in certain sections. I am looking at you, entire second half of song. Unfortunately, the song just seems a bit needless, if not slightly enjoyable, due to the high standard set by “Plastis Waver”, “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” and “No Conclusion” on other efforts. The best songs on the record are the final tracks “L’Age D’Or” and “Slave Translator” which are a return to the usual of Montreal vibes served up recently. The songs were originally intended to go on False Priest but were cut at the last stage. “L’Age D’Or” includes spoken word elements, funk melodies and vocal contrasts which are often seemingly of genderless origin. The track is accompanied by violin, bells, and a manic mechanical drum, but is really held together by the flowing vocal movements of Kevin Barnes omnipresent voice. “Slave Translator” closes the extended play in the funkiest of ways. The track is a downright dirty funk jam and is arguably better than some of the tracks that did make it onto False Priest. The song and EP finishes with a thirty second scream that concludes the tale of Georgie Fruit. RIP 2006-2011.
thecontrollersphere overall is almost a microcosm for the last two records, but it does feel like an exhaustive last attempt to get to the end of the trilogy. The EP reeks of a b-sides effort and is easily identified as a mish-mash of songs that didn’t quite fit into the grand narrative of a full album. I suggest you keep away from this if you are not an avid or established fan. Luckily though for all established of Montreal enthusiasts out there; the future is eternally shiny.