US - Georgia - Full Moon 129 - 04/02/07
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Kevin Barnes and his of Montreal have been releasing a long line of albums over the last ten years, since their debut Cheery Peel in 1997. They've changed quite a bit from their Elephant 6 related psychedelic pop until this - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - with a multi-coloured and multi-directed pop sound, indie-disco style. Or maybe some vintage new wave band. At first listen, I thought: 'What is this? A joke?' Then the album quickly started to grow on me. Let's dance!
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? was worked out (written, performed and recorded by) almost as a solo work by Kevin Barnes. With a few (regular) little helpers: The Late B.P. Helium, Dottie Alexander, James Huggins and Norwegian ex-wife Nina. Which explains all the Norway/Norwegian-related song titles/lyrics.
"Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse" and "Gronlandic Edit" [it's even right in my neighbourhood: Heimdalsgate is a street, just a 100 metres from were I'm typing these words right now..., in the Grøland era - sort of Oslo's "lower east side"], "A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger" and "Du og meg" (You and me). Anyway, Hissing Fauna... blasts off with the poppy, slightly Pulp-ish "Suffer For Fashion", and continues with the highly elegant "Sink The Seine", and steps further with the catchy "Cato As A Pun". In fact the entire side 1 (vinyl, of course - get the deluxe 180 g double album, and you're blessed with four bonus tracks) is a killer. Wild, catchy and poppy sonically - often dark and gloomy lyrically.
The epic "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal" is quite thrilling, but on side 3 I feel things start to turn in wrong directions. "Faberge Falls For Shuggie" is just annoying, as well as the slightly Zappa-esque "Labyrinthian Pomp". "We Were Born The Mutants Again With Leafling" comes saving the end of side 3, and I guess also the cd, if that has been the option (for me). In fact, if I've only had the cd I would've been rather disappointed. In stead, with the LP I get the bonus tracks, and they are a true bonus. "Du og meg" is a charming and very personal indie-pop song, while the closing "No Conclusion" is a trademark, frantic-goes-calm of Montreal song. It's a true closer.
Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? will probably keep on growing. With a few exceptions I think I'll hum along, yes, even dance, to most of it's tracks. I think Satanic Panic in the Attic still is my favourite, but Hissing Fauna... is a strong runner's up.
Kevin Barnes has once more let the world into his mind. Dark tales, but it's honest stuff.
Copyright © 2007 Håvard Oppøyen