Genre: Psychedelic indie
For a start, they’re not from Canada, they’re from Georgia, USA. Their name comes from a failed romance between frontman Kevin Barnes and a lady from that city. What we’ve got is a band that started out with the kind of psychedelic vaudeville of the late Beatles, but that has since evolved to include funk, glam, electronic and other genres – always peppered with their typically satirical touch. Morrissey meets 10CC, you could say. One thing you can be safe with this band is not getting the feeling that every song sounds the same…
‘Twee’ and ‘whimsical’ are probably the best words to describe them. Their lyrics are generally pretty gloomy (Doing Nothing, The Problem With April, Everything About Her is Wrong and Old People in the Cemetery), or sometimes drift from the bizarre to the disturbing (From a Divorced Gentleman to His Bachelor Friend Considering Marriage, Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse, Cause We Were Virgins to Your Kisses, Tim, I Wish You Were Born A Girl and the epic exploration of suicide, The Past Is a Grotesque Animal). Yet the music itself is generally cheerily upbeat, although following a period of personal difficulties for Barnes, the album that marked their return in 2007, Hissing Faun, Are You the Destroyer, explored far darker moods – but fans might argue that the sudden change of style produced the band’s most emotionally-charged masterpiece yet.
Unfortunately, it’s all a bit too weird for the mainstream, and although their music frequently appears in adverts and film and TV soundtracks, this is not exactly the kind of thing that lights up the charts. Their new album, titled Paralytic Stalks, has just been released, and features yet more dark explorations of self-loathing and failed romances, led by what was put out as the taster single, Dour Percentage, in January.
To add to the bizarreness, Barnes’ has developed his stage performance into that off his fictional alter-ego, Georgie Fruit, described as a black man who has undergone several sex changes. Bowie and Ziggy Stardust spring to mind. Having also worked in theatre and comedy, the live shows are interspersed with all kinds of skits – some improvised others not – that will keep you doubly entertained.
If you want to be treated to something a little off the beaten track, then Of Montreal could be just the tonic. If you can get through this show without nodding your head once in appreciation, then there’s something very wrong with you. There was a lot of such head nodding when Of Montreal featured at Primavera Sound in Barcelona last year, and for sure there’ll plenty more of that going when they are back in Spain in April.
Did you know: Kevin Barnes has an acting role in the next Joe Swanberg movie.
Sunday April 29, 2012 Barcelona Sala Apolo
Monday April 30, 2012 Madrid Joy Eslava