I’m not sure if the Athens Georgia band of Montreal is attempting to blend their pop sound with the discordant and the avant-garde, or whether they are gradually abandoning their indie pop sensibilities and are delving headfirst into the wholly weird. One look at the albums format lends credence to my confusion. While the first 5 of the albums nine tracks fall between 2 and a half minutes and just above 4 minutes, the last 4 tracks, on the other hand, each span from 7 and a half minutes to over 13 minutes. Clearly this album is divided in half, and each half has a distinct flavor.
But I enjoyed both halves of the album, and I can’t say, upon first listening, that I realized where one half ended and the other began. I enjoyed the feeling that the album creates: the sense that in the process of listening I am falling down the rabbit hole, entering a world that I didn’t think I had entered when I began listening, and I didn’t realize I had entered it until I had finished listening. The album begins much the same as many other albums the band has produced, with a blend of David Bowie-esque vocals, biting synths, and a bubbly sensibility. But as the record progresses, one finds one self lost amid ambient sweeps and delicate mayhem.
The album is innovative and unique, but it is clearly meant to be listened to as a whole. And it was clearly not written with any particular audience in mind. Of Montreal seems to be continuing on its quest to explore and expand the boundaries of psychedelic music and make pop music out of everything, from jazz to classical to the most far out experimental music one could find.