Of Montreal – UR FUN (Album Review)

Of Montreal – UR FUN (Album Review)

The outfit formed by Kevin Barnes (singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist) in 1996, in Athens, Georgia, United States, Of Montreal has long proven to be among the more prolific of Alternative Rock. Currently consisting of Barnes and Clayton Richlik (drums, keyboards, guitar, bass), Jojo Glidewell (keyboards), Davey Pearce (bass), and Nicolas Dobbratz (keyboards, percussion, bass, guitar), Of Montreal has been rather prolific through the years, releasing 15 studio albums over a two decade span between 1997 and 2018. Now, starting off a new decade in style, they release their 16th studio album UR FUN, on Friday, January 17th, 2020, via Polyvinyl Record.

Complete with 80s’ styled production, UR FUN opens with its carrier single, the upbeat “Peace to All Freaks,” whose mix of melody and mire is enough to lure both the commercially drawn and the adventurous. The Dance Pop sensibilities continue with the ensuing “Polyaneurysm”—playful and tuneful, nostalgic and contemporary—echoing traces of Blur (“Tracy Jacks”), Elkland (“Apart”), and The Killers (“Read My Mind”). Another glitter-glam, disco-dance track comes next in the form of the provocatively titled “Get God’s Attention by Being an Atheist.” The pace and mood then initially turns slow and contemplative with “Gypsy that Remains,” but whose beat eventually picks up, aligning itself once again with the overall summery, tropical fun vibes of UR FUN—with sprinkles of gypsy melodies for good measure.

Still in dance-floor mode, Of Montreal albeit switches to something a bit romantic—“You’ve Had Me Everywhere” is a mid-tempo meant for merging bodies in the dim-lit corners of the discotheque. A further swing into soulful swagger plays next—the sweet and smooth “Carmillas of Love.”

Barnes and his comrades then throw in the blender a bit of Britpop quirkiness and Alternative Rock’s brashness, resulting in “Don’t Let Me Die in America,” which will fit well onto a playlist that includes similarly fun tunes such as The B-52ss “Planet Claire,” The Go-go’s’ “We Got the Beat,” and Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.” The next track—“St. Sebastian” stands out with its marked change of style—Synthpop at its classic sound and best; it will certainly remind the initiated of the likes of The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette,” IGO’s “Synth Love,” and Rational Youth’s “Saturdays in Silesia.”

Near the end of the set, Of Montreal becomes slightly experimental with Deliberate Self-Harm Ha Ha,” infusing elements of New Romantic, Gothic New Wave, and Synthpop. Finally, Barnes, Richlik, Glidewell, Pearce, and Dobbratz wrap up the fun with the chaotic, Grunge-glazed fun of “20th Century Schizofriendic Revengoid-man,” which—many might not know—is a pun on the classic ’60s Progressive Rock track “21st Century Schizoid Man” by the mighty King Crimson.

Already on their sixteenth offering yet Of Montreal does not show any sign of slowing down. With its new album, the enduring band ensures its place at the starting point of the new decade. Surely, Of Montreal’s 2020s phase has only begun. That is why Cryptic Rock gives UR FUN 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase UR FUN:

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it. aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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