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Of Montreal: Lady On The Cusp

A crucial task of any entertainment connoisseur is the process of discovery, always expanding and refining one’s palate. Through this, one not only becomes a better consumer, but grows as a multifaceted individual. Without a doubt, Of Montreal’s discography, especially Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, has deepened my appreciation for the medium of music and changed the way I perceived what could be possible with songwriting. This most recent entry, Lady On The Cusp, the group’s 19th(!!!) studio album, continues this course.

When listening to the album, it becomes evidently clear that there is a truly creative spirit flowing through the band. The soundscape is as wide as ever, with a fresh mix of plucky and abrasive synths, live instruments and diversely filtered vocals. There is truly nothing else like this; it is as if David Bowie were even more experimental and a technological master. It dares you to keep listening in the best way possible; each song initially feels like a drug-induced mania in which countless thoughts all stemming from different emotions flow through your head simultaneously. “Rude Girl on Rotation,” for example, has such pleasant and easygoing instrumentation but a chorus building to the irreverent line “stepping on scorpions to kill my erection.”

“Soporific Cell” mixes the essence of the absurdist lyrics of “I Am The Walrus” (“the Brattleboro mountain crystals are oozing alien magic on your birthday bouquet”) with the atmosphere of “What’s Going On?” ending in Niles Rodgers-esque guitar strumming. This is not your trendy cousin’s indie pop. Then again, Of Montreal never was.

In this way, this is not accessible for every listener. One may argue that the lyrics can be too immature to mesh with the complexity of the music. Another may say, especially when comparing this with past work, that the melodies here aren’t nearly as catchy. For many, this will just be too strange to embrace. Its uniqueness in every aspect of its production—notably the artist’s proclivity for embracing and quickly abandoning different sounds that form an eclectic pace—gives this not only merit but importance, further entrenching the group as necessary to the musical canon.

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