Music Review: Of Montreal’s “Paralytic Stalks”

Well, then. What in the world was that?

It’s a habit–perhaps a bad one–of mine to “review” albums in my head while I’m listening to them, giving the individual songs ratings that add up to a cumulative score for the album. It may be a reductive system, but it helps me sort out my stream of first impressions into something resembling a cohesive opinion. Of Montreal’s new album, Paralytic Stalks, made sure something like that didn’t happen. You see, this is the type of album that’s so out-there that those who absolutely love it, and those who unequivocally loathe it, will probably do so for the exact same reason: because it is so, so unapologetically strange. Of Montreal’s frontman Kevin Barnes, he of crossdressing, Greek mythology-referencing infamy, has never been one for normality; even so, Paralytic Stalks represents a new high (or low) in pure musical eccentricity. The closest recent comparison I can think of is Sufjan Stevens’s similarly divisive The Age of Adz, in which Stevens appropriated glitch and orchestral music and sung about volcanoes on tracks that stretched to twenty-five minutes in length.


Of Montreal's new album, "Paralytic Stalks", out February 7th on Polyvinyl Record Co.

This is all to say that, if nothing else, Paralytic Stalks is a very audacious album, full of bizarre instrumental interludes, 7-minute avant-garde vocoder odysseys, and song titles like “We Will Commit Wolf Murder”. Accuse Kevin Barnes of being flamboyant or unnecessarily ostentatious if you like, but there’s no denying that an album like this takes a lot of guts. Which, sadly, is the best thing I can say about it: I respect Paralytic Stalks a lot, but I don’t really get much else out of it. Barnes has always had a great ear for melody (just listen to 2004’s brilliant “Erroneous Escape into Eric Eckles”), and he occasionally employs that ear to great use here, but for every catchy minute that a track like “Dour Percentage” provides, there’s about seven minutes of clanging percussion and processed noise, like on the intensely weird “Exorcismic Breeding Knife”.

Which is all well and good–if you know me, you know I have no problem with “weird music”–but Barnes’s insistence on being unconventional seems aggressively calculated and even sort of artistically disingenuous. One imagines Barnes (who wrote every track here) sitting in front of a computer, wondering how best to “freak out” his audience rather than how to let them best enjoy themselves. This means, somewhat paradoxically, that Of Montreal’s insistence on exploring the outer realms of pop music ends up being something of a downer. Paralytic Stalks could easily have been an exciting, melodic masterwork of an indie pop album, but, through an outmoded attachment to the “experimental,” the band seems insistent on weighing it down.

–Alex Robertson, Arts Editor

Paralytic Stalks is out February 7th, 2012 on Polyvinyl Record Co. 




Posted by on January 9, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

46 Responses to Music Review: Of Montreal’s “Paralytic Stalks”

  1. Pingback: facebook login sign in login

  2. Pingback: 먹튀검증

  3. Pingback: 안전놀이터

  4. Pingback: 대밤

  5. Pingback: exchange online hosting

  6. Pingback: exchange online fiyat

  7. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine side effects heart

  8. Pingback: good site to buy dumps with bin

  9. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine and kidney disease

  10. Pingback: exchange online plan 2

  11. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine supported by doctors

  12. Pingback: clomiphene citrate goodrx

  13. Pingback: how to use ivermectil effectively

  14. Pingback: stromectol 6 mg oral capsule

  15. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets 200mg

  16. Pingback: dapoxetine in australia

  17. Pingback: tamoxifen vs letrozole postmenopausal

  18. Pingback: macrobid sulfa

  19. Pingback: cialis side effects in men

  20. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine south dakota trial

  21. Pingback: tadalafil cialis 5mg

  22. Pingback: plaquenil joint pain

  23. Pingback: ivermectin online uk

  24. Pingback: stromectol may treat

  25. Pingback: ivermectin coronavirus

  26. Pingback: imidacloprid moxidectin generic

  27. Pingback: stromectol clav

  28. Pingback: stromectol teva 6 mg

  29. Pingback: Online casino

  30. Pingback: how to buy stromectol

  31. Pingback: ivermectin pour on

  32. Pingback: cheap cialis pills uk

  33. Pingback: ivermectin 12mg

  34. Pingback: what is ventolin hfa used to treat

  35. Pingback: amoxicillin 500mg tablet

  36. Pingback: cheap stromectol for sale

  37. Pingback: stromectol dosing by weight

  38. Pingback: viagra canada

  39. Pingback: viagra medicine price

  40. Pingback: viagra usa prescription

  41. Pingback: kroger prescription refill online

  42. Pingback: cialis how to get a prescription

  43. Pingback: hydroxychloroquine 200mg for sale

  44. Pingback: best viagra tablets uk

  45. Pingback: stromectol for sale otc

  46. Pingback: buy viagra over the counter australia

You must be logged in to post a comment Login