Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Cover Artwork)

Of Montreal

Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007)
Polyvinyl Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Having a band is great. You've got each member dedicated to an instrument and ready to pitch in when songwriting time is nigh. Teamwork is important, right? I mean, where would David Bowie be without Mick Ronson lending a riptide riff or solo? Having a band means someone is around to keep you in che.
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Having a band is great. You've got each member dedicated to an instrument and ready to pitch in when songwriting time is nigh. Teamwork is important, right? I mean, where would David Bowie be without Mick Ronson lending a riptide riff or solo? Having a band means someone is around to keep you in check, to nix something in the studio or suggest a re-write of lyrics, as in the case of Sabbath's "Warpulgis" becoming the politically charged "War Pigs." But most of all? Having a band means someone will say "no" when you bring up the idea of creating a concept album about a messy breakup.

Kevin Barnes doesn't have a band to tell him "no." Therefore Kevin Barnes made a concept album about a messy breakup. And thank God there was no band to tell him "no," because Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? is the best fucking album dropped by this weanie little dude ever.

The album kicks off with "Suffer for Fashion," an upbeat romp with the leading line, "We just want to emote 'til we're dead, I know we suffer for fashion or whatever." Layered over a straight electronic four-beat are stacks and stacks of guitar riffs and basslines and keys and Barnes, 'cause what would an Of Montreal album be without KB turning himself into a overdubbed barbershop quartet. Claiming hit single status, "Suffer for Fashion" drops into "Sink the Seine," a keyed down minute-long transition track, serving as a musical and lyrical set up for "Cato as a Pun," an even more keyed down track divulging further into KB's real or imagined marital strife. Lyrics like "I can't even pretend that you are my friend / what has happened to you and I / And don't say that I have changed 'cause man of course I have" hint at a troubled friendship while slow `90s house beat pans out beneath a dark synth-pop slow jam.

And so it continues for two more tracks as Scandinavia is introduced as the setting for a near-nervous breakdown and despair is sung out underneath glittery dance indie pop that travels through `90s house beats, `80s instrumentation, and `70s glam sensabilites until we collide with the 12-minute long "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal." KB takes us through his own regret and lament as he breaks us into a fast-moving dark and emotional trip down memory lane complete with driving bassline and tortured guitar riffs echoing in the background. While the song continually builds for 12 minutes, Barnes lets go and shouts out his most straight-to-the-point lines like "Let's just have some fun let's tear this shit apart / Let's tear the fucking house apart, let's tear our fucking bodies apart / But let's just have some fun" and "Sometimes I wonder if you're mythologizing me like I do you." The song is an exorcism, purging the album of any other tendencies to let emotions get the best of the music, 'cause Barnes rips right into "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider" right afterwards, a song about hipster girls at bars trying to get into your shit while you're just not digging them.

And if you're willing to get your groove on, we've got some soul sampling kicking around in "Fabrege Falls for Shuggie" and KB's best JB in falsetto impression. Free from the relationship and ready to turn down meaningless sexual gratification, the album starts to wind down with "Labyrinthian Pomp" and "She's a Rejector," detailing our hero's descent into love worship yet again, yet approaching the subject more cautiously when he realizes what he's doing. Killing off the album is "We Were Born the Mutants Again with Leafling," in which the final stage of grief turns into acceptance, even if acceptance is displayed through a bitter, upbeat anthem of space-pop.

If this was a term paper, this would be the restatement of my thesis. But conclusions are boring, you know? Just something cyclical to help our idiot brains from getting too confused. Barnes is not an indie pop darling, or an electro-pop pioneer. Barnes is a showman, with costumes, makeup, choreographed dance moves and full frontal nudity on stage. And if Barnes is a showman, than I guess that makes this album his own personal tragic opera. But you know, with lots of synthesizers and upbeat pop music carrying it.


People who liked this also liked:
The Shins - Wincing the Night AwayThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Dillinger Four - Midwestern Songs of the AmericasJets To Brazil - Orange Rhyming DictionaryThe Weakerthans - Reunion TourAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseJawbreaker - Dear YouJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyAlkaline Trio - From Here To InfirmaryAlkaline Trio - Goddamnit

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 5, 2007)

Fucking great review, nicely played.

damnitsderek (March 5, 2007)

LET'S GO OUTBACK TONIGHT! I always wondered why I liked that jingle so much then I listened to Sunlandic Twins again...

The resemblance is just...unmistakable. I hate Outback for it.

Anonymous (March 4, 2007)

The first paragraph of this review was fucking stupid.

Good album, though.

johnnydanger (March 4, 2007)

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

to pretentious of a title to even get a chance

SloaneDaley (March 3, 2007)

I haven't listened to this yet didn't even know it was out, I find Of Montreal to be kinda hit or miss for me.

Anonymous (March 3, 2007)

How many albums per year do these guys put out? Christ.

Anyway, this score's for Satanic Panic. It's a very solid album, but there's only so much I can take of this indie pop style and I for sure won't be buying this one.


dolorBrigand (March 3, 2007)

a more simple review.
if you like beatles worship, your gonna love this.

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

one of the most enjoyable albums i've heard this year

greg0rb (March 2, 2007)

LET'S GO OUTBACK TONIGHT! I always wondered why I liked that jingle so much then I listened to Sunlandic Twins again... Gotta check this one out. Let me borrow it Jesse!


GlassPipeMurder (March 2, 2007)

suicidal tendencies is better.

Ollywood (March 2, 2007)

I've been meaning to check this out, I haven't really heard much music by Of Montreal but I really enjoy the song Rapture Rapes the Muses

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

Why has no one reviewed the new Hot Cross yet? That shit slays.

Infrarecon (March 2, 2007)

Its good, but the 11 min track in the middle kind of kills the flow for me.

fritobandito (March 2, 2007)

this is an A album.
but I'd still put it behind Coquelicot...although not by much.

baseball (March 2, 2007)

i've heard some of this and i gotta say i liked it a lot more than i thought i would

ramo (March 2, 2007)

I wasn't such a big fan of Of Montreal's last album but this one I've been hearing a lot since I got the CD. Aloha still is my fav band on Polyvinyl.


Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

best and most consistent Of Montreal release to date

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

I like indie-pop, power-pop, whatever, but this is just...bleccch. Heard about 3 sings from it, hate it beyond all belief.

Archangel (March 2, 2007)

I'm impressed to see this is posted as the first review and that it received such a high score. Good call, Jesse.

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

i liked the last one better but man, props for being creative and original and musical!

mcgregor107 (March 2, 2007)

I can't stand this shit.. too.. weird.

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

the man is not gay...he's special!

youwinalemon (March 2, 2007)


This album is a party.

HeyLIttleFingers (March 2, 2007)

I can't actually believe the fact that KB is straight, but it happens...A fun band live, that's for sure- especially if you like weiner.

freesandwich (March 2, 2007)

score is for the album title

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

So wearing make up and a pink cumberbund while you dance naked on stage wiggling your dick all around makes you gay? Oh... I guess you have a point.

Anonymous (March 2, 2007)

More like Of MontreGAY

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