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.