Of Montreal – Icons, Abstract Thee EP

Of Montreal
Icons, Abstract Thee EP

On the heels of the excellently effervescent indie-rock on Of Montreal’s 9th album Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? and borne from the same sessions, comes the EP Icons, Abstract Thee.

Armed with the same biting and satirical lyrics and swirling vocal harmonies these 5 songs are not quite formed with the same visceral fortitude as their Hissing Fauna brethren, musically speaking. Yes they are distinctly Of Montreal, but they feel as though they were recorded when frontman Kevin Barnes was in a slightly lighter mood, although the lyrics suggest otherwise.

“Du Og Meg” opens the 21 minute disc and is musically upbeat using Of Montreal’s trademark peppy beats with some happy sounding horns and Barnes’ quirky voice that sounds like a young David Bowie. “Voltaic Crusher/Undrum To Muted Da” continues the frisky pace with a whimsical melody of playful keyboards and a quirky harmonized chorus that cuts right into the slower-paced “Derailments In Place Of Our Own” that entices with a classical string introduction before sliding into a scornful rant over slow acoustic strumming and a dark, foreboding bass line thump.

The mood shifts again with “Miss Blonde Your Papa Is Failing” featuring a bittersweet guitar melody with soft, Shins-like vocal harmonies that ends with some delicate acoustic guitar. Closer “No Conclusion” picks up the pace again and sounds the most like an out-take from Hissing Fauna. With an incredible amount of twists and turns, including a turbulent mix of jingly keyboards, twitchy guitars and a lot of psycho-stylized vocal harmonies, it’s woven with floating sound effects and click-clack percussives that create a theatrical mix of pop and rock that reminds me of Brian Eno’s early solo works.

If you haven’t heard Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? or aren’t familiar with Of Montreal, I recommend picking it up and introducing yourself to the sometimes intoxicating psych-pop musical fantasy world of Of Montreal. If you like what you hear, then you should seek out Icons, Abstract Thee as well as earlier Of Montreal material. If you’re already familiar with Of Montreal then you have an idea of what to expect from Icons and it won’t disappoint.