The Deal: Highly-hyped Athens, Ga., band's ninth album is soaked in sex and varying rhythms.
The Good: The band comes close to a more complex, pop version of The Flaming Lips at times infused with '80s instrumentation. Usually a band's influences can be sited as taking elements from different groups and combining them into their own style, but Of Montreal sounds like they take different elements and perform them all at once in some kind of sonic conglomerate – it can get a little bit difficult wade through. Songs typically change up their identities on multiple occasions in the span of minutes, if not seconds, keeping the listener on his/her toes. There's also multiple personalities as Barnes sings, "I'm just a black she-male" in "Wicked Wisdom" and adds to the sexuality with lyrics like, "We can do it softcore if you want, but you should know I take it both ways" on "For Our Elegant Caste."
The Bad: I'm no fan of falsetto and there's plenty of it on this album – Kevin Barnes may just be the second coming of The Darkness, at times. It's one thing to vary up the tempos and rhythms, but it's a fine line between ground-breaking and scatterbrained. The echo on the vocals in the beginning of "Death is Not a Parallel Move" is distracting and then leads into something more folk – schizophrenia at its best.
The Verdict: Over-hyped. The band definitely has its own style and unique songwriting, but it gets to be hard to follow at times. A album that stands on its own, but not sure why it's landing on so many "Best of 2008" lists.