Feature

Explaining Of Montreal’s success

Has the indie pop band come into its own, or gone overboard?

“Ten years ago, it would have been hard to believe” that the “whimsical” Of Montreal would become so successful, said Michaelangelo Matos in Salon. But today, the band’s new album Skeletal Lamping “is one of the year's high-profile indie-rock releases.” How did they do it? “Of Montreal got a lot better, and then a lot bolder.”

Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes has certainly “established himself as the anti-Christ to the polite, erudite indie world,” said Adam Moerder in Pitchfork. And although Skeletal Lamping has plenty of “shortcomings,” it is “a breath of fresh air for those bored by ivory tower indie rock.”

There’s “no question” that Barnes is “a freak,” said Jeff Miers in The Buffalo News online. But let’s be honest here: Of Montreal owes some its recent success to the fact that Outback Steakhouse used one of the band’s songs in a TV commercial, “with altered lyrics extolling the virtues of steak-eating.” Supposedly, Barnes was “horrified,” but “one assumes he cashed the check.”

Maybe Of Montreal’s current state is our fault, said R. Paul Matthews in Aversion.com. “We watched from the sidelines” and “cheered” as Barnes “became more and more eccentric with each passing release.” But now he’s “indulging every musical whim,” and it’s pushed him “over the edge.” All we really wanted from Of Montreal “was another great pop album”—instead, we got Skeletal Lamping.

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