Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (reissue, 2007) polYviNYl 8/10 How Kevin Barnes turned heartbreak into an art-pop masterstroke Gentler feelings are hard to come by amid the maelstrom of rage on the eighth and most enthralling LP by Of Montreal, the ever-morphing musical project founded by Kevin Barnes in Athens, Georgia, 11 years before the appearance of Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? in 2007. Even his portrayal of moments that predate the songs’ emotional crux – his separation from his wife and infant daughter after the relationship’s temporary breakdown – are tinged with bitterness. As he sings on the LP’s brutalising 12-minute centrepiece “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal”: “I fell in love with the first cute girl that I met who could appreciate Georges Bataille/Standing at a Swedish festival talking about ‘Story Of The Eye’.” It’s a characteristic display of Barnes’ sensibility for him to combine such candour with a high-flown literary reference on an art-pop song whose intensity evokes Sparks and Eno at their most relentless. The decade since these songs’ first appearance has done little to dull their power to astonish. Re-released by Polyvinyl in a gorgeous edition, Hissing Fauna is a high-water mark not just for Of Montreal, but for a generation of US indie rockers who seemed riskaverse when seen alongside Barnes and the agonies he recounts in an unfailingly melodic fashion. extras: 8/10. Lyrics booklet, “Icons, Abstract Three” EP; the digital, Cd, tape and 180g multi-coloured vinyl editions include downloads of two live videos.