Artist: of Montreal
Title: “Paralytic Stalks”
Format: Digital (Spotify)
The duration of “Paralytic Stalks,” of Montreal’s 11th LP, reminds me of what it’s like to use a Sharpie permanent marker.
When first opening the pack, the markers are astonishingly precise, writing letters in pencil-thin marks. After extended use, however, the tip dulls, the letters become fat and suddenly, writing “The Decemberists” looks like some unholy concoction in Cyrillic. Once writing becomes indistinguishable, another pack is opened.
In its first three tracks, “Paralytic Stalks” is the fresh set of markers and Kevin Barnes’ songs have pinpoint accuracy, painting with a kaleidoscope of familiar rock tropes, recalling The Beatles, Pink Floyd and undertones of new wave. Tracks four and five begin showing some wear.
Tracks six, seven and eight abandon the rock influences for a series of sound collage experiments, culminating in the sinister drone of “Exorcismic Breeding Knife.”
“Authentic Pyrrhic Remission” condenses this cycle into one 13-minute mass, merrily cheering “la-la la-la” before slipping into the same experimental territory.
Maybe repeated listens reveal the gifts, but after three spins, I feel betrayed every time the marker begins to dull.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.