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False Priest
is the tenth album by of Montreal, released in 2010. This album was produced by Jon Brion, and was the first and only time of Montreal have worked with an outside producer. The album has a heavy R&B and funk influence, and featured the return of live instrumentation that was mostly absent from of Montreal's previous 4 albums. It featured guest appearances by R&B artists Janelle Monáe and Solange Knowles. The album received positive critical reaction, and was mostly praised for its pop adventurism. 

Kevin Barnes Pitchfork RantEdit

Artists don't usually respond so thoroughly to their Pitchfork reviews, but Kevin Barnes is an exception:

I learned from friends that the pitchfork review of False Priest was less than good, so I avoided reading it until tonight. I gathered from PF’s review of Skeletal Lamping that we were not a darling of their blog, but I had hoped that we’d get a slightly less disappointing writer this time around and might fair a bit better. If you have read the review you’ll know this was not the case. I have no problem with people disliking my music, and even negative criticism can be constructive, as long as the person delivering the message is insightful and intelligent. Unfortunately, the dude who wrote the False Priest review is clearly not insightful or intelligent, at least not in terms of his understanding of music production. 

I think it’s criminal for a journalist to review an album and not discuss all of the songs on the album. My dude wastes sentence after sentence on the most trivial non album related bullshit before he even dives into the album critique. I guess he was trying to preface the review by clearly illustrating his poor casting for the job at hand. ok, fair enough, you shouldn’t be reviewing this album and you acknowledge that, fine, moving on.

Here is my annotated critique of his critique (and i should say that i have nothing but focused hatred for this person,so anything seaming like lighthearted ribbing is purely unintentional ;-)

Is Kevin Barnes tired of sex? No, why do you ask?' In the past three years, the waifish Of Montreal Lower case o in of Montreal asshole!!! auteur has reinvented himself as a psychedelic Prince leaving behind the innocent Elephant 6 storybook for a sweaty concoction of synthesizers and seduction Synthesizers and seduction, nice. On the masterful Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, Barnes battled depression and gave birth to a lascivious Mr. Hyde. Things only got more X-rated on Skeletal Lamping, an overstuffed orgy in both lyrical content and musical density overseen by Barnes’ transvestite alter ego, Georgie Fruit Which pitchfork totally slammed. False Priest, the third part of this tarted-up trilogy Who said anything about a trilogy? That is a total invention on your part, shows that Barnes is serious about his new phase, while also suggesting it might have gone stale Like bread? oh, it was only a suggestion of possible staleness, so i have to read on to find the answer?

For someone so concerned lately with coupling, Barnes’ recording process over this period has been a largely solitary pursuit Just say masturbatory. False Priest is billed as a more collaborative effort, both on the production end with musical savant Jon Brion and in the spotlighted duets with divas My friends are not divas asshole Janelle Monáe and Solange Knowles. The outside influences play the role of Ritalin to Barnes’ ADD, but the leaner sound reveals flaws even as it proposes ways to rebuild. Huh? What is a lean sound exactly? Something that reveals flaws? Like a powerful mirror? Oh and something that makes propositions? Hmmm…i’m stumped. 

Take the duets, which offer the opportunity for Barnes’ R&B fantasy camp to become reality; Dickhead thing to say putting aside the fact that Barnes had already gotten pretty good at singing in duet, or trio, or chorus, with himself. “Enemy Gene”, with Janelle Monáe, fares better of the two, not surprising given how her The ArchAndroid revealed Monáe as one of the few spirits restless enough to keep pace with Barnes Wait, was that intended to be almost complimentary? Turning particle physics and evolutionary biology into pillow talk, the (relatively) subdued track both features and is aptly described by Mellotron How does something get described by mellotron exactly? However, Knowles’ appearance, “Sex Karma”, is a straightforward Jacksons pastiche built around the lamest double-entendre in Barnes’ career: the John Mayer-esque leer, “you look like a playground to me.” Dickhead thing to say, and I don’t see how it is a double entendre, unless you believe I actually think Solange resembles a sandbox, and how can you compare me to John Mayer, now you are just trying to be a cusshole.

Elsewhere, the duet is less between voices but between the musical palettes of Barnes and Brion, which prove compatible but are clearly differentiated.The letdown is that Brion’s influence sounds less collaborative than cosmetic, as though Barnes showed up with a 95% complete album on his laptop and the duo merely set about punching up Of Montreal’s characteristically thin sound Lowercase o and dickhead thing to call our sound characteristically thin, and yeah, it probably sounds that way cause that’s basically how it went down, if you would have done any research before writing this you would’ve learned that i did arrive at oceanway with basically a finished record. Still, the places where Brion’s fingerprints (and gear) are most apparent are some of the album’s highlights: the Wendy Carlos-style vocoder on the chorus of “Like a Tourist”, Actually there’s no vocoder anywhere on that song the thicker guitar chug of “Coquet Coquette” Guitar chug! and “Famine Affair”, the lush, astral coda of “Our Riotous Defects”.

But the first part of “Our Riotous Defects”, handcuffed by funny-once spoken-word, is one of several indications that this Of Montreal era is running on fumes. Lower case o and what is the indicator of fumes? The most enticing aspects of the band’s R&B Mmm,enticing R&B aspects! are the places where it deviates from the recipe: its acidic, self-loathing undercurrent, its sugar-high unpredictability. Barnes’ tongue isn’t quite as sharp on False Priest, and all the shock value has worn off of falsetto-funk tracks such as “Hydra Fancies” or “I Feel Ya’ Strutter”. I didn’t know I was supposed to try to shock you more with my falsetto, sorry. I’ll sing higher next time. What do you mean by saying the shock value has worn off of two songs on False Priest? Are you attempting to imply that they once had shock value but the shock value is gone? When did that happen? Before or after you heard them? I’m guessing before?

I wouldn’t worry about Of Montreal, Lower case! as they’ve proven themselves more than capable of evolving. The distance from their early tales of wax museums and mad scientists to Barnes’ electro-glam hedonism is immense, but the switch produced an unlikely second, higher peak in the band’s career. But? If False Priest signals that we may be on the downhill side of that summit, it may also contain the embryonic stages of the next ascent, just as 2005’s The Sunlandic Twins contained the seeds of Barnes’ metamorphosis. Should budget allow, Should budget allow? no one talks like that a truer collaboration with Brion could speed the arrival of Of Montreal Mk. III, but it might also be time for Barnes to find his muse outside of the bedroom. Lowercase o, and after reading this shit review I'm definitely not inspired to create anything.

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Why does pitchfork always assign my albums to flaccid puritanical sex hating half humans? And why is there zero mention of the other five songs on the album? Didn’t have time to listen to the whole thing?Nice. well, there’s one thing I can always count on, a fair and balanced pitchfork review.


Critical ReceptionEdit

Track ListingEdit

  1. I Feel Ya' Strutter - 3:40
  2. Our Riotous Defects (ft. Janelle Monáe) - 5:15
  3. Coquet Coquette - 3:44
  4. Godly Intersex - 3:31
  5. Enemy Gene (ft. Janelle Monáe) - 3:37
  6. Hydra Fancies - 3:25
  7. Like a Tourist - 4:02
  8. Sex Karma (ft. Solange Knowles) - 4:02
  9. Girl Named Hello - 4:14
  10. Famine Affair - 3:49
  11. Casualty of You - 2:59
  12. Around the Way - 4:33
  13. You Do Mutilate? - 6:52

of Montreal Releases

<<< Skeletal Lamping (2008) | False Priest | Paralytic Stalks (2012)  >>>

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