An inventive, richly melodic and generally superb-sounding record that finally permits the listener to sit back and enjoy Barnes' black Seventies influences, yet falling a little short of its two predecessors by dint of lacking their cohesion and emotional weight.
The most enticing aspects of the band's R&B are the places where it deviates from the recipe: its acidic, self-loathing undercurrent, its sugar-high unpredictability.
Of Montreal's 2007 album, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, is one of the best 'breakdown' albums ever. In a reversal of most artistic endeavours, the more self-indulgent and navel-gazing singer-songwriter Kevin Barnes' writing became, the more inclusive and enjoyable the album proved as a listening experience. The follow-up, 2008's Skeletal Lamping, took the funky rhythms and sex-fixated lyrics of Hissing Fauna and screwed them up into a knotty, continuous song cycle. It proved mostly successful, although even Skeletal Lamping's most avid fans are unlikely to listen to it regularly.