New of Montreal album a discordant disappointment

Pitchforks: 2/5 Pitchforks

Record Label: Polyvinyl Records

For over a decade, indie-rock band of Montreal has managed to surprise and win over the ears of their devoted listeners. The band has always dabbled in interesting sounds: some songs are full of catchy dance rhythms, while others evoke a glam-rock era nostalgia.

The rockers from Georgia have been experimenting with different genres for years while maintaining their signature sound. Now, 11 albums later, the band attempts to take on some classical sounds, as they said in an interview with Pitchfork Media last fall.

The last album the band released was the successful “False Priest” back in 2010, which charmed listeners with R&B beats and catchy hooks. Unfortunately, the band did not live up to the standards they set for themselves in “False Priest,” as their new album, “Paralytic Stalks,” is a complete mess.

In the song “Malefic Dowry,” frontman Kevin Barnes sings, “Now I live in fear of your schizophrenic genius” — a line loyal listeners can easily repeat back to him after hearing this disordered album.

The album begins with Barnes echoing some verses that resemble some alien-from-outer-space talk. The alien nature of the first track actually reflects the strangeness of the entire album.

As a whole, “Paralytic Stalks” is an over-produced and pretentious album. There are too many instruments and noises to distract the listener from hearing Barnes’ famously peculiar, yet captivating lyrics. If there are any pleasant hooks in the album, they get lost in the pandemonium.

The band has always had a strong Beatles influence running through their works, as evidenced by of Montreal’s psychedelic sound — fun to listen to, but still dizzy and unpredictable. The last half of “Paralytic Stalks” resembles the discord heard in The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” but the clamor does not cease for over 15 minutes in of Montreal’s take.

In the song “Spiteful Intervention,” Barnes opens up with the line, “it’s f—ing sad that we need a tragedy to occur to gain a fresh perspective in our lives.” It is safe to say this line rings true for what has happened with the album — fans need this misfortune of a record to gain a fresh perspective on the band’s other, more powerful works. Listeners can only hope of Montreal’s next release is not as disappointing and is able to redeem the band.

Reach the reporter at jhgee@asu.edu

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