Of Montreal
Paralytic Stalks


4.5
superb

Review

by Daniel Smith USER (21 Reviews)
February 13th, 2012 | 17 replies | 1,966 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "There's blood in my hair."

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Liking Of Montreal is about the same as liking that primetime T.V. show that once sucked you out of your living room for some forty-odd minutes, plus commercials, every week. At the start, perhaps you raved about it to your friends and family, forced them to slice an hour’s worth of time from their own Monday’s pie chart, allowing the program equal opportunity to wheedle its infection into their brains as well; hell, you probably had the words best ever dangling from your hype holster. There comes the point, though, when you realize you’ve got not only your Jack Bauer all figured out, but also his entire, contracting universe, down to the formulaic significance of every red, digital second. At this needle-to-balloon juncture, you keep watching, so long as your own time allows it, but only because you’re damn near addicted to a drug of a show so agonizingly recreational you may as well play Bingo to its plot nodes.

Back to the band: since 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer’s honest, manic marriage of depression with quirkiness, frontman Kevin Barnes, now without a doubt the group’s flesh and blood, seems to be the mole, the W.M.D., the bad guy, the twist, and Bauer himself, always and without variation. What did Tarantino’s Hans Landa say again? “Oooooh, that’s a Bingo!” And so it is. A new Of Montreal album? Eh, it’ll probably feature polysyllabic, typically prolix song titles escorted by lyrics in which Barnes gaudily exorcises his black transsexual ex-glam-star of an alter ego. Oh, and there will be a tour, too, a really weird tour. Ever seen people in pig costumes simulating porcine fornication? Because you can, you know…and so, now that I’ve got you absolutely dying to submit your ears to Paralytic Stalks, the new album from the “band” that survived its own essentially-defunct Elephant 6 Collective, complete with unrepeatable track names including “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission” and “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff” (I mean, really?), I’m going to cross my arms, so to speak, letting my hand rest cautiously on my already-mentioned holster, and warn you, reader, to approach this record with care. If you should choose to duck under the yellow tape at all, that is.

For all the familiar red flags waggling around the record at first glance i.e. Barnes’ loony verbosity, the album’s WTF-worthy cover art (winged, mutilated fleshy Pac Man-kinda looking things, with fangs, that could double as lobster claws?), Paralytic Stalks charts out fresh new territory with a deranged ferocity reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens’ The Age of Adz, which was, itself, the product of a short circuiting of every synapse in a singular musician’s wiring. Here is the sound of Kevin Barnes, having ingested A.D.Z., the Psychosis Particle; and this is the way Georgie Fruit ends, not with a gangbang but a hiss. No more falsetto declarations of lovers fetishizing the archetype…nope. “Every time I listen to my heart,” Barnes confesses in “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission” with more than a hint of the emotional sincerity that made Hissing Fauna the misunderstood John Merrick of the Elephant 6’s record canon, “just get hurt.” Then subside the glitz, the la-la-la’s. And enter the atonal strings, the cacophonic wind instruments, the musique concrète of a power saw rending what may as well be bone.

There are elements of pop sprinkled here or there – take “Dour Percentage,” the last minute of which is one of Barnes’ most glorious stabs at dissecting the soul of his own madness – but, at heart, Paralytic Stalks is imbued with utter pain; “Someone’s terrorized my psyche to get even,” he half-narrates in album standout “We Will Commit Wolf Murder,” a gorgeously dark orchestral-funk number littered with contradictory, subtly emotive lyrical declarations (the weaponizing of silence between Barnes and his unnamed “you,” the only person he believes in). Elsewhere, he makes his true love cry, noting how good it feels; he returns to his “crystal;” he makes drunk calls from Brazilian bathrooms, too gone to speak; he bemoans the bitterness of his comedown days; and in sonic centerpiece “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff” (terrible name, I concede), he cries out to Nina – his real-life wife, likely the impetus behind Barnes’ surprise detour from formula, that it, whatever it is, has left him in holes. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think it is him, Barnes. Like Stevens before him, he’s partaking in some weird self-cannibalism of questionable medicinal validity, less entertaining than it is fascinating and oddly relatable, cathartic in that we as listeners are reminded of our individual humanity by empathizing with the audible suffering of a man who we can’t be sure is, uh, sane anymore.



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user ratings (135)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Rudy K. STAFF (3.5)
"Once more I turn to my crotch for counsel."...

Jacob Royal STAFF (3.5)
Of Montreal teeter perilously close to biting off more than they can chew....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Drsmith4
February 12th 2012



1710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

And that's 20.

Rev
February 12th 2012



9374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

superpos

iambandersnatch
February 12th 2012



1464 Comments


Great read.

If anything the review is a tad dense; almost every sentence is a highly complex sentence, I would say you should consider "dumbing down" your writing style a tad. Maybe a complex-simple-complex structure rather than complex-complex-complex. The intricacy is impressive though.

p.s. - "porcine fornication" - read that as "porcupine fornication" at first, lol.


cinaedus
February 12th 2012



26297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

finally!

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Anthracks
February 12th 2012



3668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

and this is the way Georgie Fruit ends, not with a gangbang but a hiss


I like this part of your review, pos

luschlotz
February 12th 2012



993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

really weird review. . . . i liked it

Drsmith4
February 12th 2012



1710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well, I do live somewhat of a weird life.

Not as weird as I'd imagine porcupine fornication to be, however.

Anthracks
February 12th 2012



3668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Any of you guys listened to their violinist's (K Ishibashi) solo stuff? If you like oM, you'll like his stuff. He does a track with Kevin Barnes, too. Check it out and support him!

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
February 13th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wonderful review, but yeah, this isn't my cup of tea

Digging: Sully - Blue

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2012



9974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Your writing is so what the fucking hell

But this album is so what the fucking fucking hell

Therefore, I pos, and would pos again if possible

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Drsmith4
July 8th 2012



1710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Let's not forget this album exists!

mindleviticus
July 8th 2012



8151 Comments


Love of Montreal. This isn't their best, but it's really really good.

luschlotz
July 9th 2012



993 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

oh i WONT FORGET. personally this is their best by miles

Anthracks
July 10th 2012



3668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

skeletal lamping = paralytic stalks > bedside drama = cherry peel > coquelicot = horse + elephant eatery

top 6

Drsmith4
July 10th 2012



1710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

No Hissing Fauna makes me a :[

mindleviticus
July 10th 2012



8151 Comments


satanic panic in the attic is their best imo

Anthracks
July 11th 2012



3668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Hissing Fauna is amazing obviously, but it's definitely for people just getting into the band. Even though I have pretty much everything rated as a 5 in Kevin's discography, HF does not stand up as well against most of the others.



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