New Music: Of Montreal, "Skeletal Lamping"

Of Montreal likes to makes music. The band from Athens, Georgia releases its impressive ninth album, with 15 tracks of unabashedly controversial pop. The band attained its zenith of commercial success—literally—with last year’s Hiss Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? A butchered version of the track “Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)” was featured in an Outback Steakhouse advertisement. But perhaps the mainstream attention made frontman Kevin Barnes a little uncomfortable, because Skeletal Lamping is a bizarre, psychedelic, rhythmic exploration through sexuality—things that don’t go very well with steak.

It’s easy to get lost in the album’s hypnotizing songs, but beneath all the beautiful sounds, danceable beats and harmonies lays Barne's honest lyrics, openly inviting us into the narrative of his insecurities, conflicts and resolutions regarding his sexuality. The simple, sample-laden track “For Our Elegant Caste,” has the sing-song chorus of, “We can do it softcore if you want/but you should know I go both ways,” is a definitive statement for the entire album. Because, in fact, Of Montreal can indeed do it both ways: naughty and nice.