of Montreal: Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck (Polyvinyl) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 8th, 2023  

of Montreal

Freewave Lucifer fck


Aug 25, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Last year saw of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes following up their most simplistic album yet (2020’s synth-poppy UR FUN) with the experimental and screwy I Feel Safe With You, Trash. Maybe it was the lockdown getting to him, maybe it was the impossibility of touring (and thus crafting music partly for its live performance), or maybe it was just time again for Barnes to confound his audience. Either way, it provided of Montreal with a shot of creative energy—one that continues to even greater effect on Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck.

Barnes has said that partway through the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, he switched out alcohol for cannabis. Now imagine, if you will, a newly consistent cannabis high, crossed with pandemic paranoia, with a dash of overindulgent avant-garde art consumption and the ADHD spectrum, and you might get close to the mindset that produced Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck. Freed from any and all constraints, this is an album made of stitched-together snippets and wildly wordy phrases. Barely 20 seconds go by before the music is on to a new rhythm, a new melody (if any), and a new level of instrumental density. Opener “Marijuana’s a Working Woman” sets the stage: blown-out synth chords swagger for one minute, the beat straightens out mechanistically for five seconds, and then disappears completely while Barnes’ manic falsetto floats over watery keyboard pads.

Each of the album’s seven tracks follow similar linear, wandering paths. It sounds like if Prince overdid stimulants and attempted to make a ’70s prog album. Occasionally there’s a bit, like on “Ofrenda-Flanger-Ego-à Gogo” and most of “Nightsift,” that sounds pleasant and accessible, but it usually lasts less than a minute. Your taste for this music will vary wildly, depending on your familiarity with of Montreal and/or your enjoyment of hyperactive, literate, and frankly wacky artistic expression. At the very least, it’s refreshing to see Barnes switching it up once more, and we’re curious to see where he’ll go next. (www.ofmontreal.net)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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