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[Indie Pop]

Of Montreal

Skeletal Lamping

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Kevin Barnes’ tendencies toward the vainglorious—his sojourns into wonky white-boy soul-funk, for example—served Of Montreal well on 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, since that terrific concept album told of the singer’s transmutation into a flamboyant glam-pop star. On follow-up Skeletal Lamping, it sounds as if Barnes’ reality/fiction line has blurred so much, he actually believes he has become the character he created.

Lamping drips, almost literally, with sexuality, never missing a lyrical opportunity to titillate. But where the couplet “We can do it soft-core if you want/But you should know I take it both ways” (“For Our Elegant Caste”) actually advances the plot, lines like “I wanna make you come 200 times a day” (“Gallery Piece”) or “Wanna make you ejaculate till it’s no longer fun” (“Plastis Wafer”) serve only to startle, and only the first time through at that.

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Of Montreal
Two stars
Beyond the Weekly
Of Montreal
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Worse are the disc’s musical atrocities, surprisingly abundant given the fluid Fauna’s song-to-song consistency. This time, we get a dreadful spoken dialogue midway through one track—“‘How will you know it was me?’/‘Do you think I’ve got caller ID?’” (“Triphallus, to Punctuate!”)—and a sleek disco number that devolves, awkwardly, into psychedelia over its seven-plus minutes. Not to mention, Barnes revises his funk-soul role far too often to endure (“St. Exquisite’s Confessions” being just one egregious example of his obvious Prince idolization).

Lamping lays out a few neat tricks; see the “When we get together, it’s always hot magic” breakdown in “Wicked Wisdom” and the roller rink-y tour-de-pop “An Eluardian Instance.” But on the whole, the album will leave most listeners daydreaming—about a return to the headier substance of Fauna, rather than, well, the stuff Barnes meant for them to fantasize about.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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