Thursday, August 13, 2009


Skeletal Lamping-
of Montreal
Status-Out as of 2008
9th Studio Album
Rating-2 Feathers

Only a year after their highly regarded ‘Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?’, of Montreal, an indie pop band originating from Georgia, released their follow-up ‘Skeletal Lamping’. With a funkier tone and lyrics bringing up a myriad of ‘fantasies, ruminations, and observations’, ‘Skeletal Lamping’ is quite a trip.

As a concept, the album was meant to be heard as one whole piece. 100+ short little songs: thousands of ideas some how classified into 15 separate songs. Starting with ‘A Nonpareil of Wisdom’, they delve right into the weirdness with a pumping bassline and quirky vocals which soon turn into a three minute long guitar solo simply involving the guitarist methodically crashing down on the strings. Though self indulgent, it’s actually very interesting to listen to. Upon hearing the 1st line of ‘Wicked Wisdom’ (it’s a smidge to inappropriate for this blog), how does it not set the mood for a moderately humorous and fun song? Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t. The song loses it’s poppyness within the first minute and then it becomes downright sleazy, with the line “when we get together it’s always hot magic” repeatedly sung over and over. ‘Touched Something’s Hollow’ and ‘An Eluardian Instance’ compliment each other very well. With ‘Touched’’s dramatic Imagine-style piano breezing into ‘Eluardian’’s bright horn fanfare, it’s an awkwardly appealing mixture with each song still offering of Montreal’s famous indie poppyness and danceability. Past this point, most of the songs are pretty odd, to say the least. Almost none of them have a full on structure and they all sound like random minute long songs just sorta pasted together. Also, each one lyrically becomes increasingly more sexually explicit like ‘Platis Wafer’, which is seven minutes of pure self-indulgence and one of the many where I just wanted it to end. To be honest, the only song worth mentioning past this is ‘Id Engager’. It’s one of the few songs on the album where they actually had a solid concept and it’s an obvious ‘song’. It has a very theatrical tone, with random screams thrown in and a thick bright bassline quickly encasing a mood of weird indie dance music.

As a whole, this album was a bit of a mess and very dirty, to say the least. I get the fact that the album was supposed to be hundreds of little compositions, but they generally seemed haphazardly put together. There was little cohesion, except in the albums general theme: I don’t know if it was just me, but every song on the album was seemingly about sex. Not only was this distasteful, but it made certain songs just a little too uncomfortable. As you can see, ‘Skeletal Lamping’ is not for everyone. Die hard fans will embrace it with the idea of ‘It’s just of Montreal being of Montreal’, but casual fans will be perplexed and severely turned off. On the surface, it’s a fun record to hop around to. I’ll give it that much.

“We feel that there’s no reason to produce another object that just sits on a shelf. We only want to produce objects that have a function and that can be treasured for their singularness. A CD has little value, as an object, and the conventional, right angle plagued CD packaging, we’ve been forced to endure forever, has nothing new to offer us either.”-Kevin Barnes

Video for Id Engager

Recommendations: Touched Something's Hollow, An Eluardian Instance, Triphallus to Punctuate!, Id Engager
of Montreal's Official Website
Note: Sorry, but I honestly did not like or fully get this album, hence the two rating. I thought the quote was appropriate for the fact that have you seen the packaging? I thought the packaging for Merriweather Post Pavilion was boss, but this packaging is this huge fold out thing. It's so beyond not a jewel case (or even a soft case for that matter). I do like of Montreal, but I don't think Skeletal Lamping was for me. I'll be working on Tapes 'n Tapes next and then probably Darker My Love. However, if Humbug comes out before I'm done reviewing either, I'll have that out. Enjoy and I appreciate the comments!

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