Of Montreal
thecontrollersphere


4.5
superb

Review

by Andrew Kaster USER (24 Reviews)
March 6th, 2011 | 24 replies | 8,614 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The orgasms are getting shorter, the ecstasy is wearing off, and all the while the hangovers are deepening.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Completing the triptych journey he began four years ago, indie pop’s Lothario provocateur Kevin Barnes finally exhibits something of Montreal’s last two albums lacked; subtlety and depth. Though the trips down realms of blue-eyed soul and processed funk acted as an entertaining diversion from the caustic “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?”, it’s gone to show that without the catharsis, Barnes simply isn’t all too interesting (and at times, he can be jarringly annoying). For the good part of three years, of Montreal has been operating solely on fumes and residual spectacle “thecontrollersphere” however, is a release so relentlessly catchy and psychologically savage that it draws fourth a somewhat hyperbolic conclusion: this is easily among the best releases from of Montreal. At the very least, it makes up for the “filler-pop” of “Skeletal Lamping” and “False Priest”.

While still exploring the promiscuous ego of Georgie Fruit, Kevin Barnes cycles through the densest of Montreal release yet. And though he claims that the songs on this EP are merely leftovers from the “False Priest” sessions, I can’t help but feel that he’s understating their quality by playing coy. Though the funk and soul tinges are still broad enough to recognize this as a logical progression, the songs here certainly don’t feel lifted from the same place, time, or even mindset of the band that recorded “Skeletal Lamping” and “False Priest” (which is a good thing). The most apparent deviation from Georgie Fruit’s Dionysian mindset is opener “Black Lion Massacre”; a dark avant-garde piece within the vein of This Heat. Further severing his symbiotic relationship with the fictional Mr./Ms. Fruit, the hallucinatory pastoral folk ballad “Flunkt Sass vs. the Root Plume” channels the spirit of early career David Bowie (mellotron and overly dramatic vocals, included) to create a nostalgic piece of psychedelia.

The remainder of the album acts as a testament Barnes’ indefatigable nature and reputation as a pop composer. Whether he’s raiding foreign discotheques for peculiar and alien sounds (such as on the quasi-Mesopotamian epic, “Holiday Call”), or wrestling with the rattle and hum of bi-polarism (I.e. “Slave Translator”), Barnes composes himself with a sort of strategic bravado, the likes of which that made “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” so compelling. Even the lyricism is becoming more and more compelling as the story of Georgie Fruit retrogresses into a sort of Disco Bloodbath. Deconstructing the celebutante, Barnes drops lines of hopelessness, such as “Even this ghetto world that has nothing doesn’t want me” and “I’m cutting myself and I feel like dirt”. Though lewd sex acts are still treated as pillow talk, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the coke trails are coming to an end, and Georgie Fruit is becoming more and more spiritually violent.

The orgasms are getting shorter, the ecstasy is wearing off, and all the while the hangovers are deepening. Killing off Georgie Fruit could very well be the smartest artistic choice Barnes has made yet, for it provides a narrative that is emotionally taut, while at the same time, wildly entertaining. When he croons “I was only stabbing your heart because I was trying to get your attention” during the album' closer, one can't help but think back to the ostensibly gloomy passages that were sprinkled throughout of Montreal's poppy palette. Georgie Fruit was fun, however, it was little more than an excessive celebratory victory lap. Even though Barnes has always been (and will most likely always will be) firmly rooted in the tenants of camp, pomp, and kitsch, his chameleon transformations will always be unpredictable in one way or another. Will he explore the realms of Euro-centric couture? Experiment with sounds much courses and callous than we’ve become accustomed to? Barnes has always been a man whose genius comes across as accidental in the way in which it blossoms. Much like his spiritual fathers Prince and Bowie, he’s unpredictable in both the best and worst ways possible, and if there is anything “thecontrollersphere” succeeds in, is that it makes the future for of Montreal seem much brighter. “rebirth suicide, rebirth suicide” he mutters on “Slave Translator”. And as history shows, indulging in what seems to be artistic suicide produces the most interesting results.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SloppyMilkshake
March 6th 2011



981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is like a psychedelic "Station to Station".

or in other words, awesomeness.

Rev
March 6th 2011



9291 Comments


So it's better than the last two albums?

SloppyMilkshake
March 6th 2011



981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, a lot better

psykonaut
March 9th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this was awesome. way better than false priest

DeluxeGoldTop
March 14th 2011



3 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Not good.

themainmast
March 19th 2011



236 Comments


i absolutely loved false priest and skeletal lamping, i don't think they're filler pop albums in the least bit. music truly is subjective.

SloppyMilkshake
March 19th 2011



981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Skeletal Lamping just didn't flow too well for me, it had moments but not solid songs, ya know? It all sounded like one big suite, and I just didn't dig all of it.

And "False Priest" just seemed a little too normal, I guess. Not as colorful as of Montreal's past work.

Still, I can't help but hold both in the same light as Hissing Fauna, and compared to that, they both fall short.

CaptWaffles
March 20th 2011



192 Comments


Didn't even realize this was out, but I'll have to look into it if it's as good as y'all are saying.

Also, in the last paragraph it should be "emotionally taut," not "taught."

lancebramsay
March 22nd 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review - awesome EP. Hope their next LP follows suit.

Steoandnoodles
April 27th 2011



2832 Comments


This is woeful. They're a good band overall but this puts their name to shame.

psykonaut
April 27th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you crazy

Steoandnoodles
May 4th 2011



2832 Comments


Nah, I found it totally awful. Band needs to do something big for their next full LP.

octothegreat
May 9th 2011



60 Comments


draws fourth a somewhat hyperbolic conclusion:


otherwise good review, i may listen to this if it's better than their recent stuff

Steoandnoodles
May 10th 2011



2832 Comments


It's not. It's trash. Though their recent work hasn't been great, this is the worst of it.

lancebramsay
May 10th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is awesome as fuck - you crazy

Steoandnoodles
May 10th 2011



2832 Comments


I ain't crazy. This be lame buddy.

psykonaut
May 10th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why is it lame
tell me WHY

Steoandnoodles
May 10th 2011



2832 Comments


I felt they really lost it with these songs. All of them have this attitude that point towards something morbid or explicit but the constant feeling of 'scraps' and doggy bag blues I get from listening to this.
I feel like I've eaten a bit of False Priest, made myself nice and full and now I'm struggling to finish thecontrollersphere.

That and the fact that the band can do so much better. =/

iGuter
May 27th 2011



325 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The explicity is smart and fun rather than sweet and sour. They kinda took the Animal Collective direction, which I love. Having 'scraps' makes the album even more unpredictable. I don't want this band to go FULL POP. Besides, this album was really only for kicks and giggles. I'm sure their next full LP will be good.

But honest to God STEOANDNOODLES, that's actually a interesting metaphor on your opinion on this EP and I totally respect that man.

Digging: Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Sling Shot to Heaven

Steoandnoodles
May 27th 2011



2832 Comments


Thank you iGuter. =)
I really feel exactly what you've said though; it comes across as kicks and giggles. =/

I'm sure they'll put more attention into their next LP.



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