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Of Montreal

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., May 2, 2014

Psych Fest Record Reviews

Of Montreal

Lousy With Sylvianbriar (Polyvinyl)

Whereas Of Montreal visionary Kevin Barnes concocts schizophrenic pop that sounds like caffeinated acid trips, 12th album Lousy with Sylvianbriar strums out a more agreeable amalgam for the veteran Athens, Ga., clown car. Credit Barnes' decreased workload on the October release. The 39-year-old recorded only guitar and bass tracks for LWS, leaving drums, strings, keys, and backup vocal duties to session players and Montreal tourmates (Kishi Bashi, Clayton Rychlik). Results play out structured, with "Belle Glade Missionaries" managing radio-caliber pop despite its meandering stretches, and the slippery melodies and big hooks on compact four-minuter "Triumph of Disintegration" arriving accessible enough for mama. There's even slowed-down ditties: the acoustically induced "Obsidian Currents" and piano-crutched "Colossus." Lyrically, Barnes holds to "Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit" and "anthemic bursts of unsanitary flames," but he's chilled for just a minute. Perhaps he'd simply reached peak weird. (Sat., 12:45am, Levitation Tent)

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