October 15, 2009
On the followup to their stellar record, Casting Shadows, New Jersey band the Black Hollies slow the tempo down a bit and offer up more psychedelic pop than psychedelic rock this time, but the results are generally as good. The production once again sounds like the record was made in the 60’s, though, as with Casting Shadows, the tracks are all Black Hollies originals. I do favor their faster numbers, tracks like “Run With Me Run,” “Gloomy Monday Morning” and “Look What You’ve Done,” but they also score with slower songs like the closer “Don’t Be Afraid To Ask.” The music is a dynamic, infectious mix of psychedelic rock and pop, garage rock and a little bit of soul. This is a solid third release for the Black Hollies that demonstrates their versatility while expanding their rock and pop horizons. Hopefully, this record will earn them the wider audience they deserve.
October 22, 2008
“Lamping is the name of a rather dreadful hunting technique where, hunters go into the forest at night, flood an area in light, then shoot,or capture,the animals as they panic and run from their hiding places.
this album is my attempt at doing this to my proverbial skeletons. i haven’t yet decided if i should shoot or just capture them though.” – Kevin Barnes, lead singer and songwriter for Of Montreal
The latest release from Of Montreal is a concept album about a self-described middle aged “black she-male” named Georgie Fruit, veteran of a 70’s funk band as well as multiple sex changes. Skeletal Lamping, with its subject matter coupled with Barnes’ mission statement for the album, quoted in part above, is the most ambitious, deliberately challenging and even confrontational album Of Montreal has released to date. It takes a lot of risks, and while not all of them pay off, the album is nevertheless compelling throughout because though Barnes and the band set out to confound listener expectations with Skeletal Lamping, they’ve still made an entertaining, frequently delightful set of music, liberally dosed with funk and a little disco to boot. Describing Of Montreal’s sound as “psychedelic pop” seems woefully inadequate at this point, since the densely layered music on Skeletal Lamping restlessly jumps from style to style multiple times, sometimes even within the context of a single song, effectively mimicking a fractured, fragmented consciousness. The lyrics are sexually frank, sometimes strange, sometimes disturbing and repellent, other times witty and joyous, expressing the profound ambivalence of the album’s main character and perhaps of Barnes himself, who has described himself as spending most of his time “in a state of mild confusion and pensiveness.” Skeletal Lamping is a fascinating, provocative, flawed, sometimes incoherent but utterly alive piece of work. You may love it or you may hate it, but if you’re a fan of indie rock and pop, you should give it at least a listen. Standout cuts: “Nonpareil Of Favor,” “Wicked Wisdom,” “An Eluardian Instance” and “Id Engager.”