Friday, 18 December 2015

Year by year: 2013


Well, I’ll be damned: Lousy With Sylvianbriar is just as good as I remember. I may have overreacted with my rating back when it was released, but what an entertaining onslaught of melodies and ideas (not least lyrical, though that’s a topic for a separate article) this album is.

All the more surprising because I’m not even an of Montreal fan. Up to 2013, they’d been patchy at best, but then along came “Fugitive Air”, and something clicked. I’m still agnostic about Kevin Barnes’s earlier records (colourful and mad though they are), but everything about Lousy With Sylvianbriar smacks of demented brilliance.  

“Amphibian Days” has the sort of seductive vocal tune that is like one prolonged orgasm. Barnes sings it that way, too. “Obsidian Currents” doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but the vitriolic lyrics more than make up for that. And it all hits the climax, both melodic and lyrical, on the head-spinning “Belle Glade Missionaries” that has this lovely middle-eight to blow you away:

I have a sense you want to be the female Henry Miller
Cynically referring to your lovers as your pricks 
And exploiting other people’s madness.