OF MoN­TreAl


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.

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