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Of Montreal’s Paralytic Stalks [8.0]

Posted on the 08 February 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

of Montreal Paralytic Stalks 550x550 OF MONTREALS PARALYTIC STALKS [8.0]

Dour Percentage – of Montreal // Buy

Of Montreal is a name synonymous with garish theatricality. In their music, and especially in their stage shows, the band takes showmanship to levels previously thought unreachable. No matter how complex or orchestral the music is, though, I could never truly see past this theatricality — they were always just a bit too silly to take seriously. Paralytic Stalks is the album that changed this notion. It’s not silly or overtly large. It’s mature, surprising music.

Paralytic Stalks is an Of Montreal record — make no mistake. The mixture of genres, the orchestral grandiosity, the hallmark rambling and, at times, hilarious lyrics of Kevin Barnes and company are still present. There are songs where the band sounds like the freakish offspring of Steely Dan and The Zombies or a like a spot on Donald Fagen impression that is “Spiteful Intervention”. There are also songs, however, that sound like the darker side of Wilco, with melancholic bells and whistles looping in and out of starkly confessional lyrics.

There’s a depth to this release that hasn’t been on the previous Of Montreal records, or at least not that I had heard. Perhaps it’s in the confessional and deeply personal lyrics that characterize the album. Continuing where Of Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer left off, the rambling, poetic lyrics that Barnes weaves through his genre hopping songs tend to focus on the nastier bits of his psyche. Just take the song titles: “Withered Debts,” “Malefic Dowery,” “We Will Commit Wolf Murder,” just to name a few. It’s an emotionally raw record, in both the musical choices that Barnes makes as well as his lyrics, and that rawness allows the songs to transcend their inherent theatricality and become wonderfully cathartic.


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