Kevin Barnes — the musical auteur behind the critically adored band Of Montreal — has, over the course of his last seven CDs, written songs that have been used in TV ads for everything from the NASDAQ to Outback Steakhouse. (You’ve heard him even if you’ve never heard of him.) It seems he can’t help writing music that’s insanely catchy, in the best tradition of classic ’60s and ’70s pop.
But Barnes doesn’t write simple music. Behind the danceable neo–New Wave, neo-psychedelic pop confections he’s written for Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (out 1/23), there’s sheer musical mastery. He’s a multi-instrumentalist Prince-like polymath with a smartly dark, baroque worldview.
Think Let’s Dance–era Bowie, but with lyrics for the Prozac Age (“Come on mood-shift / Shift back to good again”) — and improbably sunshiny song structures that could have come straight out of the Brill Building.
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