Of Montreal
Skeletal Lamping


1.5
very poor

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
October 25th, 2008 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Constructed in segments, Skeletal Lamping is meant to be an inconsistent record, sure, but the problem lies in how disastrously it affects quality.

I liked Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? a lot, but not enough. Of Montreal have always been a band that I liked but never loved, with albums that were good but never great. With Hissing Fauna, leading man Kevin Barnes seemed to be headed in the right direction; the first half of the record was near baroque pop-perfection, a sweetly, unabashedly gay delight. And then that weighty middle section and twelve-minute disco romp happens, where Barnes transforms into his alternate stage persona, the black, middle-aged transsexual, Georgie Fruit. It debunks most of that good favor that Barnes never fully recovers from.

Skeletal Lamping picks up roughly where “We Were Born the Mutants Again with Leafling” ended and falters quickly thereafter. “Nonpareil of Favor,” beginning with medieval strings, dropping into shuffling pianos before shifting into sweet metal riffz, is one of the album’s few sufferable moments until it fails in the same way Skeletal Lamping does for its elongated running time: unedited artistic ambition. (“We could do it softcore if you want / but you should know I go both ways” is never a good idea.)

Constructed in segments, Skeletal Lamping is meant to be an inconsistent record, sure, but the problem lies in how disastrously it affects quality. Taking a few cues from soul, funk, psychedlica and good ol’ messy, tried-and-true indie rock, it seems Georgie has never met an idea he couldn’t pilfer. Pilfer is the key word here: not once does Skeletal Lamping feel real, vital, a record meant to evoke the hidden demons that Barnes is battling with (skeletal: his personal fantasies; lamping: revealing those secrets). It might be there in the lyrics (the acoustic interludes under Barnes’ layered falsetto in “Death Is Not a Parallel Move” seem to suggest some inkling of actual emotion) but they’re lost behind a shifting landscape that would pull the rug out from beneath our feet if there were even a floor to begin with.

There are glimpses of promise that I had so desperately clung on to with Hissing Fauna but they’re mostly resigned to moments left over from Barnes’ discography. “Mingusings” is an immediately striking dance tune, all bassline and soul, the sparse electronic strings finally falling out for the climactic drumbeat. “When we get together / it’s hot magic” in “Wicked Wisdom” is an undeniably affectionate moment undone by a dip into freak folk. “Gallery Piece” has pure R&B on its side, and if it weren’t for Barnes’ overbearing falsetto that is too showy for an already showy soul throwback, the song would be an album highlight.

As bad as the song is, the dip into piano balladry for “Touched Something’s Hollow” suggests a depth unfounded here (“Why am I so damaged? / Why am I so troubled?”). Hissing Fauna was heralded for its balancing act: Barnes’ introspective tales and his wham-bam, everything-goes style. What could have been an eye-opening glimpse into the fractured mind that created it, Skeletal Lamping lacks a satisfactory, uh, idea. None are progressed, thoroughly provoked, just simply thrown out the speakers in hopes that we are transfixed by its oh-so literal translation of Barnes’ Georgie Fruit act. And like all bad horror films, album closer/first single “Id Engager” ends on a promiscuous, uninterrupted note that suggests another raucous follow-up.

Count me out.



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of Montreal's latest release, "Skeletal Lamping," is a fascinating album doubling as an electronic m...


Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2008


6094 Comments


Sorry with how disjointed this reads. I had a bad time listening to this.

bastard
October 25th 2008


3435 Comments


Skeletal Lamping is meant to an inconsistent record


aren't you missing a be?


plane
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2008


6094 Comments


yes

bastard
October 25th 2008


3435 Comments


okay you just added it, good review.This Message Edited On 10.25.08

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 25th 2008


4927 Comments


I'm not surprised at all

cbmartinez
October 25th 2008


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

yah band sucks really hard good review

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2008


16089 Comments


ya know I thought you liked this lewis

SnackaryBinx
October 25th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

my friend suggested this to me.
i have to hit him for that.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 25th 2008


3995 Comments


Ya this band is grossie.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2008


8010 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

awful, awful album

Digging: Beach Slang - Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2008


8010 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

who in their right mind gave this a five?

natey
October 25th 2008


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thumbs up; insightful review

sgrevs
October 25th 2008


698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this a lot. Still, pretty good review.

dubpluris
October 26th 2008


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Don't rip me apart here but I really like the album. I think that it picks up about halfway though. It's fun to listen to and the lyrics are raunchy in a great way. I don't know what all of the fuss is about. Just my two cents. Please, don't beat me.

handoman
October 27th 2008


2386 Comments


who in their right mind gave this a five?


thomerakisgod



PartinsShot
October 27th 2008


138 Comments


cant wait to check out this cd. i hear of montreal sounds very similar to victor malloy, whom i love.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 27th 2008


6001 Comments


Won't be getting this then. Shame that it sucks. A little part of me wanted it to be good.

AggravatedYeti
November 18th 2008


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is ok. It's like if they kept playing 'Labirinthian Pop' for an hour straight in like 50 different styles.
Barnes still slays, even tho he's totally gei here.

Doppelganger
November 19th 2008


3124 Comments


I just heard Id Engager on the radio at work today and I wanted to eat battery acid. Seriously one of the worst fucking songs I have ever heard in my life.

rezdawg
July 5th 2010


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favorite albums
(im going to get it for this)



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