Local Wire

Of Montreal

As you've undoubtedly heard, now is a good time to be of Montreal -- just ask such critically slurped bands as the Arcade Fire, Stars, and Broken Social Scene. It's also a good time to be Of Montreal, the colorful Athens, Georgia, psych-pop band fronted by ever-clever songsmith Kevin Barnes, a Willy Wonka-like figure who easily draws you into his musical world, alive with kaleidoscopic Ray Davies/Andy Partridge-style melodies and arrangements, but whose surreal twinkle reveals something vaguely unsettling behind all that unbridled giddiness. The Sunlandic Twins -- Of Montreal's seventh studio album -- is one of the group's best and most addictive, benefiting from both that happy/malevolent juxtaposition and a sparkling instrumental palette, diverse enough to include jangly guitar fuzz, flanged-out disco-pop grooves, akimbo rhythms, George Harrison-worthy slide solos, big-top-organ interludes, and blippy nu-wave synth doodles. Judging by that, something wickedly good this way comes, as Of Montreal plays in the Valley this weekend.
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Michael Alan Goldberg