Of Montreal loses the glitter but retains the pure pop sounds on ‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’

Album review: Of Montreal’s ‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’

Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar
★★★ (out of 5 stars)

It sounds like Kevin Barnes is having a mid-band-life crisis. He revamped his lineup, moved to San Francisco to find inspiration and recorded the outcome on a tape machine. Lousy With Sylvianbriar is a straightforward presentation of the heavily distorted and glammy Of Montreal – but it totally works. Without digital embellishment, you can’t miss Barnes’ pure sound and sharp wit. Departing from the self-deprecating style of 2012’s Paralytic Stalks, Sylvianbriar recounts Barnes’ people-watching habits and growing distaste for humanity. The lyrics of “Belle Glade Missionaries” are wrought with sarcasm: “Will you post naked GIFs of your epileptic fits/And keep track of your hits/And your friends don’t give a shit.” Paired with a hint of country jingle, the track is indie rock perfection. Barnes gently condemns with brilliantly layered vocal harmonies in “Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit” that would likely impress Brian Wilson. Lousy With Sylvianbriar is for the ever-evolving Of Montreal yet another face that manages to look good with or without the glitter paint.