of Montreal - White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2018-03-09
of Montreal - White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood
of Montreal - White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

Here are two statements from Kevin Barnes about of Montreal's fifteenth album: 'Two important events occurred during the making of White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood. I became "Simulated Reality" paranoid and I fell in LOVE.' And also: 'The works of Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Chris Kraus, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the Autobiographies of Malcolm X and Mark E Smith were all great inspirations, to name a few.' These tell you a lot about of Montreal - whenever they release an album you need to have the lyrics up, Wikipedia open and the books section of Amazon available. As with their last album, Innocence Reaches (which I also reviewed here), the intriguingly named White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood is the sound of an over-sensitive and over-educated middle-aged man performing mordern R'n'B and Pop music. I love it. of Montreal - the only band whose albums should come with a glossary.

Soft Music/Juno Portraits Of The Jovian Sky is quite like an R'n'B producer's version of Japan (the band). As on their last album, I am reminded of the early Manic Street Preachers where vomits of incredible lyrics were crammed into catchy Pop/Rock songs. With Mark E Smith gone and Richey Edwards almost definitely gone, Kevin Barnes is out on his own. Possibly with David Tibet for company. The next track is Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia. I'm not really going to do a big review of the lyrics other than to say that you should give yourself a treat and read them along with the album like we used to do in the old days. However, check this couplet out - 'You shouldn't try to unpeel my Pavlovian bells/You should be fucking with no one else'. If you don't like stuff like that, this album will annoy the fuck out of you. I love it, especially when it's married to squelchy synth and manipulated vocal tracks. To a certain extent, the verbosity of the lyrics often restricts of Montreal from writing truly great pop melodies as big chorus generally require fewer words to accommodate greater leaps in notes. As if to prove that they are aware of this, Writing The Circles/Orgone Tropics is slower, has far fewer words and a much catchier melody. Barnes' voice is fairly androgynous here (as is his dress sense in general). The song ends with a lovely saxophone solo from Zac Colwell. The vomit of words continues on Plateau Phase/No Careerism No Corruption. It's like Stephen Malkmus without a filter. I must admit that I only understand half the words in this song and I have a degree in English. The contents of Barnes' brain must be like Alphabetti Spaghetti. The song itself lands somewhere in between Rihanna and late period Bowie. Sophie Calle Private Game/Every Person Is A Pussy, Every Pussy Is A Star! has a pretty funky intro, in keeping with the Sly Stone (and Aleister Crowley) reference in the title. There is a Yacht Rock sheen to this album that may be unintentional because of that genre's influence on the Hip-Hop and R'n'B that influences Barnes. All the songs on this album are over 5 minutes long as Barnes was inspired by extended mixes of 80s pop songs. But they also enable Barnes, Colwell and Clayton Rychlik and JoJo Glidewell to stretch out and there are some excellent musical passages on this album. Suddenly, we're at the last track - If You Talk To Symbol/Hostility Voyeur. The bass-line on this is exceptional, like something from Air's Moon Safari. The synths are very 80s. There are some brilliant sections of Yacht Rock-Funk within in the eight and a half minutes of this song with some really neat rhythm guitar. Again, it finishes with some lovely saxophone from Colwell.In linguistics, irrealis moods are the main

set of grammatical moods that indicate that a certain situation or action is not known to have happened as the speaker is talking. I don't really understand this but thought that you might like to know. Kevin Barnes/of Montreal are very similar to David Tibet/Current 93 and Mark E Smith/The Fall. If you like the person, you're over half-way towards liking the band and all their albums. I'm a late-comer to the party but I'm moving slowly through their back catalogue. The only problem (if this can be considered a problem) is that their records demand total attention. This is not background music and was never intended to be. Fans will love this and I urge all people to at least give it a listen as it will provoke a reaction and sometimes we need that just to feel alive.

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