Lousy with Sylvianbriar
If anyone can blend honky tonk and '70s acid rock, it is Of Montreal front man Kevin Barnes. Listen to "Hegira Émigré" from the band's latest album for proof.
The Athens, Ga. band is known for evolving its sound faster than hyenas devouring a wildebeest, and with the same fervor. They often feast on emerging genres; gutting them until every shred of possibility is picked clean and no creative option is left unturned. The result has been 11 schizophrenic and immensely loveable studio albums since the band formed in 1996.
Its previous efforts have leveraged Prince-like R&B, hip-hop, and chamber pop against the jagged edges of rock tronica.
With the release of Lousy with Sylvianbriar last week, Of Montreal has apparently decided to shock its fans and make a seemingly conventional album. (Gasp!)
On this record, Barnes has plunged Of Montreal's sound—with audacious authenticity—into the late '60s and early '70s. Recorded at his home studio in San Francisco, the album asked experimentation to wait at the door.
Instead, Lousy with Sylvianbriar is an exploration into analog recording processes; no computers were used. The track "Obsidian Currents" was ripped from a David Bowie playlist, while "Raindrop in my Skull" borrows the flowing rock of The Mamas & The Papas.
It's a simple and sparkling album chiseled from the themes of free-flowing love, social unrest and beatnik poetry. The album art work embraces the romanticism of rebellion with sedate colors and a vintage motorcycle, completing Lousy with Sylvianbriar's venture into the waning of America's innocence.