Review Summary: of Montreal's most underrated album demands attention as a turning point from their former, under-produced sound.
of Montreal's records are rarely as directly engaging as Aldhils Arboretum. From the opening track we are at once inspired to "do nothing" and rock out with our socks out all at one. If that wasn't enough, there is a gripping pop jingle about how when you get older life makes less sense and the young people pity them, a perfect sense of Queen-inspired genius with the excellent "Emily", and the beautifully crafted "Ode To The Nocturnal Muse" which, in my view, hits on just about everything this band has to offer. There is a slacker-rock element confronting a dazed apathetic listener's ears on some kind of magical mystery tour level. Not that it particularly sounds like the sum of its influences; it somehow supplants them with a new wave bliss on psychedelia. Likely not before or since, Kevin sounds direct and at the top of his Beatles/Early Floyd-sounding powers; when the album ends you just wanna spin it again for the layered effect of experiences of the apparently unconnected yet sterile, boring sounding protagonists whom inhabit the album's almost eerie atmosphere.
Instrumentally, this is has always been a tricky band in terms of timing and limitlessly loquacious lyricisms. The listener will find here more than enough for these elements as the production level is entering its meta phase in of Motreal's varied and extensive catalogue. "Pancakes For One" will always be a personal favorite of mine for feeling lonely, but then we get hit with a summarily silly song in "We Are Destroying This Song": a song that bears an interestingly similar message/sound as found in the likes of the Beatle's "Only A Northern Song". The instruments all sound detuned, the vocals seem to greet nothingness with a nearly nihilistic familiarity, and this dissonance gets wrapped up in the ultimately hopeful opus "An Ode To The Nocturnal Muse" which evens things out nicely. The tracking at first seems disjointed, yet further inspection will find that as archaic and unrelated the songs sound the actual lyrics match up from one to the next in terms of themes found in this colossal monument of indie rock,
and perhaps hidden messages you forgot throughout the exhaustive emotional roller coaster you've just experienced in 'Aldhils Arbortetum'.
This seemed to deserve a review and (in all reality) by someone more equipped to write than me. Nonetheless I really do spin this album all the time. Arguably more than Hissing Fauna which is unstoppable as an album - Aldhils just has so many catchy, psychedelic tracks that warrant future listens in all the great ways. Perhaps we would all of us partake in a bit of the good 'ol medicine that is this poppy, catchy record?