of Montreal
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?


4.5
superb

Review

by ECRbubs USER (3 Reviews)
September 26th, 2009 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We just want to emote 'till we're dead

It's not easy to describe this album... well, it's a concept album about lead singer Kevin Barnes getting divorced and mutating from a normal white guy into a transgender black man named Georgie Fruit. Seriously. Transgender/racial craziness aside, Barnes actually did get divorced (he would later get back together with his wife) prior to the recording of this album. He also moved to Norway while on antidepressants. Needless to say, he was going through some weird stuff. Fortunately, this provided brilliant musical inspiration for Barnes, and these themes are reflected in the fantastic lyrics found in Hissing Fauna.

Continuing the conceptual theme, you could divide this album into three parts: The tracks before and after "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" and the track itself. The first six tracks deal with an emotionally strained Barnes striving to find some purpose in life, and these are also the catchiest tunes on the album. Therein lies part of the genius of Hissing Fauna: its brutally depressed and schizophrenic lyrics are often mirrored by perfectly infectious electronic pop music. The frosty jangle of "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger" begins, "I spent my winter on the verge of a nervous breakdown/ while living in Norway!" but the song is so unbelievably catchy that it has been used in Comcast commercials. As it comes to a close, we arrive at the turning point of the album.

"The Past is a Grotesque Animal" is simply an epic centerpiece. At almost twelve minutes, it's a simply stunning song. Within the album concept, here is where Kevin Barnes finally snaps and becomes the trans-sexual, trans-gender Georgie Fruit. When the song's buzzing synth attacks hit you it's as if you can feel the transformation take place. All the while, Barnes/Fruit extorts lyrical genius, speaking/shrieking line after line of frustrated brilliance. You get the sense that he is trapped within himself, that he needs to escape. "Things could be different... but they're not!" he cries. Even some bipolar instincts come through: "Let's just have some fun. Let's tear the s'hit apart! Let's tear the f'ucking house apart! Let's tear our f'ucking bodies apart!" In the end, Barnes submits to his new alter ego as a mountain of fuzz and screeching guitar transition into the album's third section.

And now the transformation is complete. Tracks 8 through 10 are funk monsters, sexily romping around with a sense of Georgie Fruit's newfound erotic whimsy. The best of these is "Faberge Falls for Shuggie", a lively track interlaced with an amazing/hilarious falsetto. Conversely, the last two tracks on Hissing Fauna are more regretful and lamenting, but not without their own moments of pop mastery. The listener cannot be certain what fate Georgie Fruit has accepted as "We Were Born the Mutants Again With Leafling" fades out on a sea of wordless melodies and piano, but they will certainly be amazed by what a fantastic experience it is that they have just heard.

This album has so many inconceivable highs and its shelf life is so timeless that it's ridiculous. I highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for something new, or who likes their pop/indie/electronic music with a twist.


user ratings (598)
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Robert Crumb EMERITUS (3.5)
Musical docent Kevin Barnes continues his plunge into the Eighties with his most pointed foray into ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ECRbubs
September 26th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

First review woot. Can anyone tell me how to edit this/make the italics work correctly?



Also, I find it extremely frustrating that reviews have to be censored. It really takes away from the content. I also highly doubt that anyone who is disturbed by cussin' is reading the reviews on sputnik.

CelestialDust
September 26th 2009


3160 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yeah i never finished listening to this album

ECRbubs
September 26th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

dü it

Prophet178
September 26th 2009


6397 Comments


Editting is done by going into your profile and hitting edit my reviews.

Italics you use BBCode, so just place the words around [i][/i] tags.

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2009


12193 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

can't stand much of this album, to be honest; satanic panic and sundlandic were amazing, and now of montreal just tease me



excellent first review though

ECRbubs
September 26th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the help Prophet, and the positive reception Rudy

thebhoy
Emeritus
September 27th 2009


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Past Is a Grotesque Animal is superb. The rest of the album is not. Don't like Of Montreal, too ghey.

ECRbubs
September 27th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wouldn't even say it's the best track, but it is quite awesome obviously. And I'm a little surprised that most people seem to dislike this album/band

Romulus
September 27th 2009


8566 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I remember wanting to like this and just not really liking it. Have a pos though.

ECRbubs
September 27th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks much

klap
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2009


12193 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i love of montreal, but i've hated their last two albums. skeletal lamping was mad frustrating

ECRbubs
September 27th 2009


687 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hm, this album was the first album I heard by them, and I instantly loved it. I'm also a fan of Skeletal Lamping, but I can see how people get annoyed by it. I'm not too familiar with their pysch-pop years, but from what I've heard I've enjoyed.

mindleviticus
May 30th 2014


10020 Comments


this album's a masterpiece of dissociative identity

mindleviticus
May 30th 2014


10020 Comments


YOU AIN'T GOT NO SOUUULLLLL SOUUULLL POOOWER

LaughingSkull
October 6th 2017


613 Comments


Don't know anything about the band, but this album title sounds like a very uncanny reference to the plot of the film The Happening (directed by M. Night Shyamalan)...



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