Thursday, August 2, 2007

Of Montreal: Crawdaddy 1st August 2007

Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes is widely regarded as one of the most gifted songwriters to emerge from the second wave of acts from the Elephant 6 Recording Company. The release of this years Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? saw Barnes' songwriting take a darker, more personal turn. Following the breakup of his marriage Barnes' recorded most of the album himself while living alone in Norway. Themes of depression and isolation pervaded whereas previous records showcased the band's unique talent for mashing sunny sixties pop together with a more experimental side. It was released to widespread critical acclaim in January this year.

Last night's show in Crawdaddy began as the album does with the breakneck glam-stomp of Suffer For Fashion. While Barnes is a natural showman, all glitter and pomp, there is an unmistakable feeling of a band going through the motions. Between song banter doesn't improve matters with Barnes explaining that the band has a plane to catch in couple of hours. Things improve slightly with Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider a gloriously shambolic mess of looping bass, choppy guitars and a fantastically funky chorus.

Requiem For O.M.M.2 from 2006's Sunlandic Twins showcases Barnes' talent for more traditional pop sensibilities and gets one of biggest crowd reactions of the night. Typical of the band's sound its two and half minutes of pop hooks with a deliciously catchy chorus. Hissing Fauna's centerpiece, The Past Is A Grotesque Animal, falls short of the claustrophobic intensity of the record and ends up sounding slightly tedious. Onstage the band kitted out in angel costumes and grim reaper outfits look almost bored while upfront Barnes does his best Marc Bolan impersonation. Chrissy Kiss The Corpse from Satanic Panic In The Attic is fun and infectious as you would expect it to be and the band finish with The Kinks' All Day And All Of The Night.

The overall impression was a lack of feeling from the musicians and a lack of interest from the crowd. You get the sense that there was a brilliant performance in there somewhere if they would just cut out the needles showboating and costume changes. Not a complete disaster by any means but a very big letdown for fans of a band capable of so much better.

Of Montreal - Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider mp3


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