Some bands just don’t have one “sound”. While leader (and sole constant member) Kevin Barnes’ distinctive voice is a fixture, over the band’s 17-year run their records have rolled up twee pop, glam rock, psychedelia, electronic music, and most recently funk and Afrobeat into the katamari that is their discography.
On “Fugitive Air”, the first studio recording we’ve heard from Lousy with Sylvianbriar, out October 8th, 2013 on Polyvinyl, Barnes abandons the dark, mutant dance and funk that was a large part of Of Montreal’s recent output. In its stead is a confident, well-made indie guitar rock that recalls aspects of 2004’s Satanic Panic in the Attic, the bombast and attitude of Deerhunter’s recently-released Monomania, and the classic rock twang of ‘60s and ‘70s band like the Grateful Dead and the Flying Burrito Brothers, some of Barnes’ stated influences while writing the record.
What makes the band great is here in its most pure form since 2007’s now-classic Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?: strong melodies, deftly structured pop songwriting, and smart, clever lyricism. For anyone whose interest in the band has waned in recent years, this is the perfect way to remember what made you care in the first place.