Of Montreal

of Montreal is many things. of Montreal is one of the stalwarts of the Athens, Georgia pop scene.
of Montreal is the recording and performing project of one Mr. Kevin Barnes. And of Montreal is one of the many bands still in operation with a tie to the loose Elephant Six collective of the late '90s, a group of like-minded bands centered around that incredibly fertile Southern college town. of Montreal is not , however, predictable. And therein lies the appeal of a band that, over its past two albums with Polyvinyl Records, has exploded from cult appeal to international popularity.

With its union of Kinks-inspired, late-'60s rock send-up and '80s-era synth stylings, the 2004 album Satanic Panic in the Attic planted the seeds for a new audience. Last year's dance-inducing, idiosyncratic electro-pop masterpiece Sunlandic Twins cultivated that expanded and ever-enthusiastic audience, letting a growing legion of fans flourish. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? arrived in January 2007 and was ready to reap the benefits.

It's an irresistible and remarkable album, sounding like a logical extension of the erratic indie-disco sounds of Sunlandic Twins . Recorded as a one-man operation in a tiny Norwegian bedroom and an attic in Athens GA, the album swings from swaggering guitar to moody synths, from exultant sing-along to curious combinations of sounds. Lyrically, you've got boisterous pomp, maddening depression and decadent indulgence. Hissing Fauna is strange, unexpected, entrancing and rewarding. And if not for the tumultuous year that nearly tore Kevin Barnes apart, it never would have existed.

Of Montreal also played at...