Release Date: Jan 23, 2007
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
After an impressive showing with 2004's Satanic Panic in the Attic and a jubilant follow-up in 2005's Sunlandic Twins, Of Montreal captain Kevin Barnes fell on some peculiar times. The birth of a daughter, alienation and depression in Norway, and subsequent separation from his wife and new child gave him plenty to mull over, work out, and serve up on 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? At first glance, longtime Of Montreal followers might throw up their arms in dismay as Barnes moves well away from the usual slice-of-life character studies he's made such good use of over the past few years -- no pop-challenged London cabbies or paranoid senior citizens on Hissing. No sir.
When Kevin Barnes, aka Of Montreal, was writing and recording this album, his life was crumbling. He had depression, he had been (temporarily) abandoned by his family, and he was sinking into a haze of alcohol. For the first half of Hissing Fauna, he translates those experiences into songs of such coruscating joyfulness you almost envy him the trauma.
Kevin Barnes’s genius lies in his ability to imbue established genres with a fresh sense of wonder, shaping and re-shaping them into cartoonish grotesqueries that echo the vagaries of his own obsessions. As the perennially boyish mastermind behind Of Montreal, he’s managed to establish a long-running career through a devious form of pop osmosis. On previous outings, Barnes kept some level of distance between the personal and the conjectural, content to wax psychedelic about old people in cemeteries and other supremely detailed, yet clearly invented characters.