Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl, 2007)

February 21st, 2007

By CJ Knowles

Dancing to Of Montreal is like eating at McDonalds: it sounds like a great idea at the time, but once you think about the contents, the entire ordeal becomes kind of disturbing. That’s not to say that it’s bad food - quite to the contrary, McDonalds and Of Montreal are absolutely delicious - but to eat or dance to either is to deny where it’s coming from, and when done in excess, both can be harmful to your health.

Of Montreal is the creative purging of Kevin Barnes, a post-Beatles Harlem shaker that harbors more bitterness than a bottle of Campari. On Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, Of Montreal has fully developed this bitterness, and for the first time in their ten-year tenure, the band has found the perfect mix of jumping harmonies and jumping off a bridge. The album comes after Barnes’s short-lived separation from his wife; yet where most artists have unfurled into sulky crooning, Barnes has instead chosen to interweave his rage underneath the whirs. And although violent dance music kind of went out of style a few years ago when everyone realized that The Rapture wasn’t that cool, Hissing Fauna has found a way to disguise its maniacal stabs underneath enough synth claps and vocal loops to make it seem like a completely new movement.

Perhaps the best part about this album, however, is its unexpectedness. While anyone who has ever seen this band live knows that all the members are slightly insane, I don’t think many would have foreseen such a dark album. It is this contradiction that makes this album one of the band’s best, and as interesting a psychological case study as it is a musical piece. Listen to this one over and over, and don’t stop until you feel better about yourself and worse about your significant other.

Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.