GOOD MUSIC: ‘Skeletal Lamping’ - Of Montreal
First off, I’m back - sup bitches. I have been crazy busy, but after receiving literally millions of emails from my adoring fans I decided to come back and start writing reviews and shit again. So buckle your seatbelts motherfuckers.
My most recent obsession has been Of Montreal. Somehow I went this long without really listening to them, which was a huge mistake. I honestly would recommend any of their albums (they have a fuckload of them). Their music is so varied and consistently good that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite. Since I can’t choose which I like best, I am just choosing to review the first one I listened to: their 2008 release Skeletal Lamping.
I originally downloaded this album as part of a last-ditch effort to load up my iPod with new music before a long drive up to Cape Cod. I didn’t really have that much interest in the band, and I just kinda threw it on there because a friend recommended it.
A few hours into the drive, I decided to try it out. The first song, ‘Nonpareil of Favor’ immediately sets the ever-shifting tone of the album. It starts off as a bouncy, quirky pop song, but about one minute in, just when you start to think ‘this is pretty catchy’ waves of distorted guitars come in and, by the 2:30 mark, the song has devolved into straight-up noise jam. Not exactly the catchy album opener most people would choose (and definitely not the easy-listening driving tune that I was looking for). After a minute or so of loud distorted guitar, I got ready to say ‘fuck this shit’ and change music. But just as I started to search my iPod for another option, the landscape shifted again.
Suddenly, the funky psychedelic weirdness of ‘Wicked Wisdom’ was blasting through my speakers. And then, just as suddenly as it had came, it was gone. Another shift: now super-trippy psychedelia with booming vocals. Then comes ‘For Our Elegant Caste’, and Kevin Barnes is crooning: ‘I’m so siiick of sucking the diiiick of the cruel, cruel city.’ When I hear this majestic lyric, it begins to dawn on me how fucking amazing this music is. By the time ‘Gallery Piece’ comes around, I am sure that this is one of the top 50 albums I have ever listened to, and I haven’t even heard the songs that would eventually become my favorites yet (‘And I’ve Seen a Bloody Shadow’, ‘Plastis Wafer’, ‘Beware Our Nubile Miscreants’).
But even as I write this, I feel guilty picking favorites, and feel like I will want to go back and edit this tomorrow. Absolutely every song on this album is not only good, but great. Skipping even one track is a crime that should be punishable by DEATH! Of Montreal pulls off a rare feat here in making each song distinct from the last while also making each song incredibly good in its own right. Similar to some albums by The Strokes (mainly Room on Fire), you can pick any song at random from the album and you will enjoy it immensely on its own. With Room on Fire, though, each song fits into a single particular style (which, don’t get me wrong, is still awesome). But Of Montreal somehow accomplishes this while incorporating pretty much every musical genre imaginable (usually radically switching musical styles two or three times in a single song). To me, that’s just incredible.
And while each song can be picked out and listened to individually, the album truly shines when you listen to it all the way through. With all the eclectic craziness and constant switching of styles, the album somehow comes together incredibly as a very cohesive piece. So basically, what are you waiting for?
Hop in your car, throw this on, and listen straight through. You’re in for a wild ride. 5/5