Posted by: Ryan Allen on October 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

Of Montreal, Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl, 2008)

MP3: “Id Engager”

Kevin Barnes must be a terribly difficult man to love. He laid out his case with last year’s psych pop masterpiece Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, a record that explored an extraordinarily dark period in his life including nervous breakdowns, suicidal tendencies, chemical imbalance, freaking out after his daughter’s birth and a period of bleak self-isolation in Norway. With Skeletal Lamping, Barnes continues his confessional trend by attempting to let listeners into the darkest corners of his mind. The results are jarringly erratic, emotionally unbalanced and impossible to predict –- which is to say Skeletal Lamping could go by the alternate title, A Tour Through the Mind of a Sexually Deviant, Bi-Polar Individual: The Musical. Yes, it is a harder album to digest than Hissing Fauna, as each track morphs several times making them feel more like medleys than individual songs, but despite the emotional and musical roller coaster, the high points are brilliant and addictive. Skeletal Lamping occasionally veers into rehashed or less memorable musical territory, but like Waiting For Guffman‘s Mayor Welsch says about the weather in Blaine, Missouri, just wait five minutes and it’ll change. And with the hard work Of Montreal put into Skeletal Lamping, they really have gotten it down to three or four minutes. So for a disturbingly revealing yet good time, crawl into the mind of Kevin Barnes — and make sure you bring some Zoloft along just in case things get too manic-depressive up in there. — Laura Witkowski

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