Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
Acquired: Amoeba Music, Los Angeles, CA, Used, 2005
I don't know why I got all of my Of Montreal records out of state, it just happened that way. I think this one is a gem, and I have some fond memories from it. I remember Of Montreal played Lawrence a month after freshman year and Annie and I went together. It was right when we were getting to be superfriends, and this is like, the first major event. Most importantly, we almost died after the show on the way home. We'd somehow gone the wrong way on K-10 and on our way back to the real K-10 we hit a dead deer. It was pretty intense, but a bonding moment. Anyway, it was one of the better shows I'd seen in my time. The electro-pop groove established on Satanic Panic in the Attic is still present, but this is where Kevin Barnes started getting a little funky (which has come to dominate Of Montreal's output). Peep the groove on “I Was Never Young,” it's pretty indicitave of what's to come. For some reason this record got panned when it came out, and that makes no real sense to me because it's way good. Maybe it's because Barnes is writing from a point of happiness, and as we know from Hissing Fauna, he writes better from misery. But that doesn't make this a bad record! It's super fun and despite the fact that they sold “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” to Outback Steakhouse (I can't listen to this song without replacing the chorus in my head with “Let's go Outback tonight/ Life will be there in the morning”), this record is REALLY fun. It makes sense that it was their breakthrough record, and it's even better that Barnes payed no attention to that and followed it up with something dark and depressing. The LP comes with a bonus disc full of EXCELLENT B-sides. “Art Snob Solutions” and “Family Nouveau” use the same instrumental track as I was a Landscape in Your Dream,” and either of those would fit in on the record. “Everyday Feels like Sunday” fits all the criteria of a perfect b-side. That is, one that very much comes from the sessions of an album, but clearly does not fit on the record. However, it is a perfect single because it is an excellent song. “Art Snob Solutions,” like “Rapture Rapes the Muses” for appealing to my film geek side and name dropping Tarkovsky...though the song criticizes people who criticize people who don't know who Tarkovsky is, amongst other artists. Nina Barnes sugary sweet Swedish vocals on “Keep Sending Me Black Fireworks” are lovely as hell, and the lilt of that song again, makes for another offshoot perfect b-side. This EP disc actually might be why I love this record. “Family Nouveau” is really sad, in that it's the last song on the EP and how Hissing Fauna is about the dissolution of the family he sings about. Compare this with “The Past is a Grotesque Animal” and it gets even sadder.