Review Summary: A very playful, upbeat, and carefree record with bountiful memorable hooks and melodies.
Formed in the mid '90s, Of Montreal is one of the best pop bands that I have heard of. When I refer to the term pop music I don't mean bands like Blink-182 or Good Charlotte. Of Montreal is completely different from those bands so in case you were wondering now you know. This band has never gotten the credit they deserved. It's not like they were being overshadowed by any other bands, Of Montreal just don't appeal to a lot of listeners. I'll just say this, if you enjoy pop music, than get this album now.
Wow, what an album. Catchy guitar hooks, piano chords, keyboard synths, brass instruments, and xylophones. This album is heaven for fans who like quirky, upbeat, joyful pop music. Of Montreal is a pop band, but they blend together other slight influences of psychadelica, rock, funk, and lo-fi. This music is extremely catchy, you will be singing these songs in your head for weeks, maybe even months. The melodies are simple yet sophisticated. There is always something new going on in these songs, none of them sound the same and they all stand out. The Gay Parade can go from a whimsical pop tune, to a more heavy guitar, rock influenced song, to a serious ballad, all the way over to a song dominated by brass instruments. The Gay Parade is just pure fun, and it is an interesting listen no matter how many times you listen to it.
The best part about this album is the instruments. Of Montreal uses a very wide variety, and sometimes the instruments can be so complex you don't know what there using. Guitars, keyboards, brass instruments, piano's, xylophones, harmonica's, and accordians all play a role on this album. The guitar plays the main role. The guitar can go from soft, gentle strums, over to catchy riffs. The keyboards also show up in just about every song creating a quirky sound that adds on sugary effects. The brass instruments appear frequently and they escpecially play a huge role in The March Of The Gay Parade and Fun Loving Nun. As for the other instruments they all show up occasionaly, but they are also recognized enough to be considered a slight factor in the album. The instruments are superb and Of Montreal mixes it up so much that no two songs sound the same.
Kevin Barnes' vocal delivery is excellent. It fits the album perfectly and it is a perfect blend with the poppy, upbeat nature of The Gay Parade. His voice is high-pitched, quirky, fun, joyful, and Barnes seems like he doesn't have a care in the world. His playful voice is very cheerful and happy, while this can annoy me at times it usually works perfectly with the albums upbeat nature. Kevin Barnes is an underated vocalist and songwriter. His vocals are superb here and although they can get tedious at times they work well with the musical style of The Gay Parade.
These songs are all extremely catchy and very well done. It is amazing that I can listen to this one night, wake up the next morning and still have the same song stuck in my head. Songs like Fun Loving Nun and Tulip Baroo just never get old, they have the same feeling no matter how many times you listen to them. Most of these tracks range from two to three and a half minutes long. This is a good thing because while some of these songs can be short and sweet the longer tracks are usually more downbeat and mellow. The Gay Parade is upbeat and poppy for the most part, but there are a few exceptions. Nickee Coco And The Invisible Tree, and Jacques Lamure is a perfect example, they are both filled with different sounds and instruments but they are still mellow and more dreary. While most of these songs are filled with quirky, playful melodies there are a few softer tracks.
Overall this is one of my favorite pop albums I have ever owned. This is pure excellence from beginning to end. Catchy guitar hooks, keyboard synths and a load of other various instruments are used to create memorable hooks and melodies. This album is very playful, upbeat, and care-free so I will warn you that this album can get annoying if you don't know what you're getting into. Aside from that I can't see what else is wrong with this album. No two songs sound the same, Of Montreal is constantly mixing things up to keep things interesting. I would say that if you're a fan of sugary pop music than there is no better album. If you're new to pop music than you have nothing to lose. Although The Gay Parade is hard to listen to at times it is definately worth it. Please do yourself a favor and give a few tracks a listen; after all, they will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, or maybe even a week.
Overall Rating : 4.5/5
Pros: Catchy Songs // Wide Variety Of Instruments // Variety // No Bad Tracks
Cons: Hard to listen to at times // Can be annoying depending on what mood I'm in
Recommended Tracks: Fun Loving Nun // Neat Little Domestic Life // The Miniture Philosopher // My Favorite Boxer