It’s hard to deny Of Montreal’s originality. Though their sound changed in the course of time, ranging from more acoustic to electronic songs, what remained is the authenticity of their music. Being as prolific musician as he is, Kevin Barnes has the ability to surprise you with catchy melodies combined with meaningful lyrics. And so he does on Of Montreal’s fifteen studio album.
White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood takes you to the dark and a bit surreal journey through Barnes’s mind at such turbulent times in America. As he stated in essay related to the album, lyrically his main inspirations were the works of Angela Davis, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Noam Chomsky, Chris Kraus, and the Autobiographies of Malcolm X and Mark E Smith. He also struggled with paranoiac feeling of Simulated Reality, especially after the presidential inauguration. Another great inspiration for Barnes were extended club mixes of 80’s hits. The album is imbued in 80’s sound, danceable and simply fantastic in it’s pure manifestation of energy. The album works out in many ways. One can listen to it, dance to it, sit and overthink the dark lyrics, trying not to shiver, cry or smile at hearing some verses.
Barnes is an extremely skillful writer and composer. Who else would write such song like Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia, an anthem for the post-Obama era, an age where spurious hope has been replaced with a hatewave of pharmaceutically diminished internet neo-realism, that because of its melody and captivating sound makes one you want to dance? Or the dreamy-like Soft Music/Juno Portraits Of The Jovian Sky, Writing The Circles/Orgone Trophics with his own high-pitched vocals and Sophie Calle Private Game/Every Person Is A Pussy, Every Pussy Is A Star that, besides it’s long title, is one of the most superb songs of love one can recently hear? The disco climate palpable throughout the album, combined with exceptional melodies and beats, set this body of work as sensational. Working mostly alone and on the same drum sample packs, Barnes wanted to create a rhythmic continuity. It does not sound plain as it seems. He achieved it with a stunning result. Unintentionally, due to the length of the songs and their two titles, it might seem like there are not six long, but twelve shorter songs. However the reception, these songs are truly terrific.
Once again Of Montreal proved to be one of the most remarkable modern indie projects. Barnes has a wit, and his creative power still amazes. White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood is an immersive record, a great album full of phenomenal songs. Some of them might be even marked as the greatest in their discography.