Of Montreal - False Priest

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2010-09-13

More cohesive than last album Skeletal Lamping and more upbeat than their breakthrough, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, Of Montreal's latest takes main man Kevin Barnes' (still operating under the alias of his alter-ego, the transsexual Georgie Fruit) Prince obsession and runs with it all the way, with often glorious, sometimes hilarious results.

Opening track 'I Feel Ya Stutter' is like something Sly Stone might have bashed out in his carefree, join-hands phase, while the fantastically booty-shaking likes of 'Our Riotous Defects' and 'Like a Tourist' manage to take Prince's muddled-sex work of genius, 'If I was Your Girlfriend', the Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack and The Teenagers spoken word sex obsession, and create utterly wonderful, magical sounds. 'Godly Intersex', meanwhile, sounds like something Outkast might have come up with at their most bonkers. Even Andre 3000, however, would probably never deliver a line like "We danced for miscarriages."

As always with Of Montreal, the joys of the party sounds they create are never as simple as they at first seem. "There's an invisible suture that keeps me in my seat next to you 'til the end" sings Barnes on 'I Feel Ya Stutter', sounding, not for the last time, a little fraught and a little fried. But, more than anything Of Montreal have done before, False Priest is unarguably an album of big pop moments. Janelle Monae pops up on the lovely synth-pop of 'Enemy Gene', while 'Sex Karma', 'Girl Named Hello' and the closing 'Do You Mutate' are impressively realised funk jams. As a disciple of Prince's 80s heyday, Barnes is proving just at adept at creating irresistible funk from disparate elements in a skewed context. 'Hydra Fancies' is alternately wobbly and floaty, but it's squelchy 80s bassline cannot be denied.

False Priest shows how to take 80s influences and make them really work. It's indebted to Prince's purple patch, yes, but most of it can actually stand alongside his best moments and hold its head up high. At the same time, many tracks are odd, dark and mysterious enough to keep you coming back, trying to figure out just how and why they work. It leaves you in no doubt that Barnes' head is as overheated as ever, but thanking God (or whoever) that he has the talent to turn his tangled thoughts into great music like this.

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