Monday, February 5th, 2018

of Montreal – Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia

Lukewarm Receptions To Indie Rock Monday continues…


Alex Clifton: Kevin Barnes said that he was musically inspired by ‘80s club edits when composing material for of Montreal’s newest album. “Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia” feels exactly like that, but like most extended dance remixes, it could do without a solid minute or two. “You should be fucking with no-one else” punches deep the first time but makes for a weird chorus, and lines like “A Prussian Christian bot is something I am not” disintegrate into nonsense. I can see where Barnes was aiming with this — fun electro beats with darker lyrics so nobody notices how grim it is while they’re dancing! — but it’s a bit of a miss.

Alfred Soto: I suppose artists can toy with any concept that catches their fancy, but of Montreal have been toying with them in such an arch fashion for many years. This pastiche of mid eighties Devo doesn’t stick. The only person whom Kevin Barnes should be fucking is himself.

Micha Cavaseno: Oh good, it’s the purveyors of Dresden Dolls-level histrionic narcissism to outdated-The Rapture revamps. And they’ve discovered rap-style snare rolls! Golly, I sure want to hear this pained attempt at theater kid electroclash shoved in my face as anything other than self-deluded preening, the kind of folks who mistake screaming about flaws as a form of humility! Absolutely fun times!

Tim de Reuse: Kevin Barnes’s lyrics usually need to be untangled like a string of Christmas lights to make any sense out of; in comparison, this grab-bag of paranoid tidbits is tight and cohesive. His penchant for restless, twitchy instrumentals gels well with the theme, and the production is similarly disorienting, with all elements wrestling for the foreground. Did it need to be this long? Surely not: the two closing minutes stumble around aimlessly on a wonky groove and sap the closing lines of the impact they might’ve had. But ending the chant of “You should be fucking with no! one! else!” on a descending minor triad packs an infectious fed-up defiance.

Ryo Miyauchi: Kevin Barnes may have written this chintzy pop to sing his self-loathing in a more palatable fashion, but why does it sound so mocking toward ills haunting if not him then his very listeners? Anxiety, mania, and prescriptions used to counter them: these are dark things that have come to the forefront of pop culture so recently, and this seems like an insensitive parody of the conversation.

Julian Axelrod: My sister once described of Montreal as “music for people with ADHD.” Kevin Barnes always seems to have more ideas than he knows what to do with, cramming key changes and tempo shifts and hooks and hooks and more hooks into every song. As his sprawling discography attests, he’s also never been the best self-editor. Every track feels like it should be cut up into bite-sized pieces, and “Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia” is no exception. Barnes spins a tale of lovesick obsession over disco synths that pulse like a bad hangover, and for a few minutes that’s enough to keep him busy. But three fake endings later, he’s shifted to Joy Division-style guitar drone that sounds (and feels) like a car stuck in neutral. Somehow this is too single-minded for of Montreal fans and too schizophrenic for the average listener.

Reader average: [3.66] (3 votes)

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