By Chris Pacifico
Sadly inspired by a separation from his wife, Of Montreal brainchild Kevin Barnes has created his most intimate, ardent release to date - an album tantamount to a Peter Max painting come to life. While retaining the hallmarks of the always sprawling Elephant 6 collective, Hissing Fauna is a tasty smorgasbord of vivid colors, sights, and sounds. Barnes' voice never fails to give off a kinesthesia of fuzzy, cold glee that plays off the zest and pizzazz of the fuzzy synths, frolicsome melodies, and splashes of skeletal disco and electro, all awash in druggy transgressions.
"Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" is a perturbed, jumpy ode to drug use. The blobbing bass of "Groanlandic Edit" showcases how Barnes hasn't lost his sardonic wit with lines like "Guess it would be nice to give my heart to a God, but which one do I choose? All the churches fill with losers, psycho or confused." The flowing, amped-up jazz of the 12-minute "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" is a Rorschach test for the ears.
Of all the work Of Montreal has put out in the past five years, Hissing Fauna is the richest and most full-bodied. It's as if Prince created his version Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn during his Controversy era. Hissing Fauna is a rock solid testament to the power of music. Having endured a formidable period in his life, Barnes has spun it all into a spiky, ostentatious album bound to induce a pleasant trance like state.
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