Skeletal Lamping

Skeletal Lamping

by Of Montreal
3.2 4


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Skeletal Lamping

During the closing moments of 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, bandleader Kevin Barnes introduced his alter ego, an effeminate singer by the name of Georgie Fruit. One year later, that character runs amok on Skeletal Lamping, having wrenched the spotlight away from Barnes' sugary pop and trained it on an ambitious hybrid of glam rock, experimental R&B, and Scissor Sisters-styled sex-funk. Barnes sounds truly uninhibited under the Fruit guise, making declarations like "I'm just a black she-male!" with flamboyant confidence. Such a shift in direction marks Of Montreal's ascent into the psychedelic clouds where Ziggy Stardust once flew, only this time, the listener catches a ride on the back of a transgendered Prince fanatic whose songs are fragmented and confusing, yet still peppered with irresistible hooks. Like the album's cover art (an origami-influenced billfold whose flaps unfurl to form a giant floral display), Skeletal Lamping demands attention by being purposely puzzling. The music is extravagant and elaborate; each song is comprised of multiple vignettes, many of them completely different in style, and each track spills into the next. It's interesting to watch the pieces fit together -- to pinpoint the exact second where one song ends and another one begins. But whether or not you enjoy Skeletal Lamping depends on your tolerance for unchecked ambition and left-field experimentation, both of which are emphasized here. Of Montreal have rarely sounded so free, so unrestrained, but this is a love-it-or-lump-it album, a polarizing effort that -- depending on personal preference -- is either irresistibly attractive or overzealously pretentious.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/21/2008
Label: Polyvinyl Records
UPC: 0644110016027
catalogNumber: 160
Rank: 281345

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Skeletal Lamping 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Twentysomethingwithnolife More than 1 year ago
This album combines the darkness of Hissing Fauna with the exuberance of Sunlandic Twins...often within the course of a few seconds. Constant shifting of mood and subject is disorienting and takes some dedication to get used to, but extended listening will be rewarding! The same type of innovative musical patterns that addicted me to past albums emerge here. Certain songs, such as An Eluardian Instance are almost touching and very brave in Mr. Barnes endless self exposure. The lyrics throughout this flirt with incoherence but have emotional resonance that, due to their inspecific subjects and overly specific references and descriptions are truly poetic and will resonate with anybody who has imagination and emotions. Once the listener gets used to the twists and turns of this album, they will become lifelong devotees. It's totally inspiring and organic! If you are new to Of Montreal, Skeletal Lamping is not the ideal starting place. That would be either Hissing Fauna or Sunlandic Twins.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mumbletrain More than 1 year ago
Apparantly the lead singer and mastermind behind Of Montreal has been creating new personalities for himself, and in the process has an album that feels like it has multiple personality disorder. In stark contrast to Hissing Fauna..'s concentrated awesome, Skeletal Lamping feels jittery, drugged-out, almost over-compensating. Hissing Fauna had this melancholy life examining mood to it, that even though the songs were dancy, they were dancy with a point, with an energy that wasn't as prevelant in previous albums, and an energy which seemingly has gone out of control in this one.

The problem with the album is certainly not that it's lacking in dancy beats, in catchy hooks, or in energy. The problem is that once the listener latches on to a hook, it's over, which is an immense tease with the potential of some of these hooks. It's akin to listening to a more approachable Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle) or Mindless Self Indulgence record, with the mood shifting on a dime, happy and bouncing at one moment, moody and regretful the next.

It seems for the duration of this album that Mr. Barnes is trying desperately to keep away whatever demons are pursuing him, but in the process creates a work that just feels wrong, while in the greater scheme of things creates a interesting perspective into the musician's life.