Plumbiferous Media

False Priest - Of Montreal

Sep 2nd 2010
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False Priest - Of MontrealOf Montreal
False Priest
Score: 89

Sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Ele­phant 6 band, of Mon­tre­al, releas­es their newest LP, False Priest, on the 14th. The band seems to go in rel­a­tive­ly even cycles, pro­duc­ing good record, then bad record, then good, and so forth, so after the mis­guid­ed Skele­tal Lamp­ing, we were expect­ing a great record. Judged sole­ly on the vinyl pack­ag­ing, False Priest is noth­ing spe­cial: a sim­ple gate­fold, with an art book­let rude­ly shoved in one of the sleeves. Even the actu­al press­ing is sub-par. But the afore­men­tioned book­let does con­tain some very strange art­work, and the album eas­i­ly match­es the art, pig head for pig head. False Priest is eas­i­ly the most diverse album yet, one of the strangest, and though def­i­nite­ly not the best, one of of Mon­tre­al’s strongest albums to date.

Kevin Barnes is back in all of his glo­ry, with every bit of the falset­to-laden wail­ing that implies. Barnes is, as always, excel­lent at giv­ing every one of his tracks the com­bi­na­tion of semi-insane charm and ener­gy that makes of Mon­tre­al what it is. Barnes smooth­ly switch­es between the high­ly amus­ing spo­ken word of “Our Riotous Defects” and more tra­di­tion­al of Mon­tre­al fare, such as the excel­lent “Coquet Coquette.” But what­ev­er mode Barnes is in at a giv­en moment, he’s at the top of his game through­out False Priest, and it real­ly push­es the album along.

Barnes’ usu­al lyri­cal mix is about half apiece of psy­che­del­ic strange­ness and absolute hilar­i­ty, and on False Priest that unique mix comes togeth­er beau­ti­ful­ly. There are very few artists that could get away with using “I Feel Ya Strut­ter” as both a song title and a refrain, and Kevin Barnes is one of them. Whether it’s spo­ken word inter­ludes or the philo­soph­i­cal absur­di­ty of “You Do Muti­late?”, Barnes’ words give False Priest the resound­ing appeal that makes the album so enjoyable.

False Priest is one of a few albums that tru­ly has every­thing, even the kitchen sink, but more impor­tant­ly, it’s one of a much small­er group that suc­cess­ful­ly includes the kitchen sink. From the gui­tar heavy, pow­er­ful “Coquet Coquette” to the funk-influ­enced “Like a Tourist,” False Priest acts as a muse­um of both old and new sounds for the con­tin­u­al­ly evolv­ing band. And some­how every­thing fits in per­fect­ly. Though it was a lack­lus­ter and dis­ap­point­ing sec­ond sin­gle, “Hydra Fan­cies” is a nec­es­sary and excel­lent addi­tion to the album, and “Coquet Coquette” some­how man­ages to sound even bet­ter sur­round­ed by the rest of False Priest than it did by itself. Of Mon­tre­al gets away with mur­der on False Priest. The bla­tant­ly obtru­sive bass that rocks the ear­li­er parts of the album some­how only serves to strength­en the tracks, and tracks that should clash hor­ri­bly sit togeth­er with­out so much as a bick­er. In fact, of Mon­tre­al has worked so hard to defend its mur­der that it has no rea­son to cov­er it up, and as a result, False Priest works, and works very, very well.

False Priest is, on the whole, an excel­lent album. It’s good to see of Mon­tre­al back on the horse, but to see the band best­ing much of their extreme­ly strong old­er work with some very, very exper­i­men­tal tracks is even more excep­tion­al. Com­bin­ing the best parts of of Mon­tre­al’s most suc­cess­ful albums with some new ener­gy from Barnes, not to men­tion that added by Janelle Monáe in her appear­ances, False Priest is not only suc­cess­ful but sim­ply fun.

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