Interview: Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes, To Preview Friday's Pageant Show
In this week's paper, Keegan Hamilton chats with Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes. The article weaves quotes with some analysis of Skeletal Lamping, the band's latest -- and arguably most disjointed -- CD. Here's an excerpt from the story -- which you can read in its entirety here:
"[The album] doesn't follow any logical path. I wanted to create something full of surprises and unpredictable," Barnes says. "Pop music can be so predictable and a lot of people follow the 'rules' in a way that's not very creative or interesting. I did that a lot in the past and I kind of learned to break free from that."
Barnes' lyrics are as fragmented as his production style. Many of the songs are written from the perspective of a black transsexual man named Georgie Fruit, a Barnes-invented character who he says was once a member of a failed '70s glam-rock band.
"It sounds pretentious but I really feel it just happened, I didn't sit down for weeks and weeks and create a character," Barnes says with a faint Southern drawl. "This voice was just unlocked inside me, and I gave it a name. All of these songs were flowing out of me, I thought it was a foreign entity speaking, but I realized it was a different part of my psyche that was unlocked and speaking to the world."
Hamilton's not the only fan conflicted by Lamping, which came out this week. Judging by reviews, it's been polarizing critics everywhere.
"Id Engager" video:
Blender, Paste and Rolling Stone raved about it; Under the Radar, All Music.com and Pitchfork all warned to proceed with caution. Even the most positive reviews (such as this Drowned in Sound article) seem conflicted: "Some people are going to think this is a masterpiece, the equal of "Hissing Fauna." Others will call it a self indulgent mess that pushes indie-rock somewhere it really wasn't meant to go. Personally, I think both those sound about right."
Truth be told, the Pitchfork review is probably the best assessment of the album I've read. After seeing the insane stage show and listening to Lamping, the album makes more sense; it's like the score for a hedonistic circus, where social norms and moors don't exist. Instead of the album driving a tour, it's a vice-versa situation.
Judge for yourself Friday night at the Pageant. We'll have photos and a review up on Saturday.