Of Montreal ditch sanity, pick up Bowie on Paralytic Stalks

Of Montreal ditch sanity, pick up Bowie on Paralytic Stalks

“We Will Commit Wolf Murder. Exorcismic Breeding Knife.”  “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission.” These somewhat intricate and foreboding song titles appear on the band Of Montreal’s new album, Paralytic Stalks, and definitely represent the overall mantra of the band’s style and approach to their vocation.

Of Montreal (no, they are not from Montreal), hails from Georgia, and features a total of eight musicians, supplying psychedelic pop tunes to eager and excited ears. Their new album will certainly fulfill the fan’s thirst, for it is within Paralytic Stalks, where manic melodies, dangerous compositions, and an occasional catchy chorus lie.

Granted, some of the songs are a bit overbearing, considering four of the tracks reach over seven minutes. But, with a bit of patience and curiosity, Paralytic Stalks will indeed prevail and achieve.

It is important to point out the layout of the album. Several of the beginning tracks offer pinched personal confessions and realizations by the lead singer, Kevin Barnes. On “Spiteful Intervention,” for example, Barnes loudly screeches and yelps, “I spend my waking hours/ haunting my own life/ I made the one I love start crying tonight/ and it felt good!”

Other catchier beginning songs, like “Dour Percentage,” wrap themselves up in the legacy left by David Bowie. Whistles scream, base strings are plucked and drums crash through most songs, making the tunes constantly fluctuate. On “Ye, Renew the Plaintive,” Barnes talks to his wife Nina: “Oh Nina/I have become so hateful/How am I ever going to survive this winter?” The arrangements are absolutely bipolar.

The later tracks, take on a more darker and sinister tone. Barnes seems to be having an apocalyptic and violent breakdown, summoning up themes of revenge, confusion and self-loathing. Some of it could actually make a good score for a movie concerning psychedelic film noir surrealism (listen to “Exorcism Breeding Knife”), if that is even a real genre.

The late tracks drag and drag… and drag, possibly denoting a sense of alienation from Barnes. However, the album ends with an upbeat epic, where Barnes yells, “I love how we’re learning from each other/ You are such a positive!”

Other music sources have compared Paralytic Stalks to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer, which received an abundance of intense critical acclaim. Both albums are dark, personal and unpredictable.

Props to Of Montreal for making this physiologically deranged album. The confessions, the violent outbursts and the sincere questioning make Paralytic Stalks a wild expedition through the manic personal troubles of Kevin Barnes.

Album Rating- 8.5