of Montreal: Innocence Reaches (Polyvinyl) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, July 10th, 2020  

of Montreal

Innocence Reaches

Polyvinyl

Aug 12, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


What happens to an artist that specializes in youthful exuberance when they're no longer young? On "Suffer for Fashion," the first track from of Montreal's landmark 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, Kevin Barnes put it thusly: "If we've got to burn out, let's do it together." Even at his peak, Barnes wasn't past being concerned with burning out-it's just that he knew better than to let it bother him. If it has to happen-and it pretty much always does-he might as well do it in style.

Assuming that he still feels that way, consider it mission accomplished. Thirteen albums are already in the books, and somehow Barnes' prolific glam rock project hasn't soured in the slightest. Indeed, last year's Aureate Gloom was actually the sweetest in some time-a menacing love letter to the twisted side of Cheap Trick-style power pop.

For album number 14, Innocence Reaches, Barnes is looking forward rather than back, having decided to tap into the modern landscape of pop music, whatever the hell you might consider that to be these days. What that mainly seems to mean is that electronica runs through this incredibly vibrant hour of music-but only in a way that serves to complement the guitar-driven rock that has always been the underbelly of the band. Don't believe me? Listen to "les chants de maldoror" and see for yourself that Barnes is far from done with shredding.

Still, there's a fittingly present vibe running through this album that's anchored by Barnes' smart-as-ever lyricism, which largely deals with complicated issues of gender, love, and anxiety in the digital era. When he sings the line, "I'm modern/I think that you're great/Let's relate" on the opener, "let's relate," he's not singing it like a desperate plea, but rather like a robotic command. And as that last word comes in-"relate"-the synths take over, drowning out his human voice with an oscillating swell of 1's and 0's.

It's better to burn out than it is to rust, so they say. Maybe, but it's starting to seem like you can grease the wheels with glitter and cruise on forever. (www.ofmontreal.net)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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