A Star is Born
Aside from being tons of fun, the release of Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? has a weighty effect: A star is born.We already know Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes can pull off the nearly-impossible task of creating indie-credible pop. He spawned nine oddball collections with Of Montreal and heâ€šÃ„Ã´s doing it now essentially as a one-man band, having written and recorded much of Hissing Fauna alone.
However, Of Montrealâ€šÃ„Ã´s lyrics have been fairly detached, as lyrics must be when they describe quirky characters and swirling scenes of fantasy. This time, they are not. On Hissing Fauna, Barnesâ€šÃ„Ã´ poignant words leap through the hazy sunshine of â€šÃ„Ã²60s-style vocal melodies and cheery, buzzing synthesizers. The new earnestness in Kevinâ€šÃ„Ã´s chirp of a voice suggests it is his own hopes, dreams, and pain he delivers on a pretty pop platter.
To begin â€šÃ„ÃºHeimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curseâ€šÃ„Ã¹ he begs, â€šÃ„ÃºCome on, mood…shift back to good again,â€šÃ„Ã¹ as dismayed synthesizers wheeze behind him like robot bagpipes. When melody enters like a sugar rush, he implores his unruly brain chemicals to treat him kindly. In â€šÃ„ÃºSuffer for Fashionâ€šÃ„Ã¹ he hopes everyone will â€šÃ„Ãºall melt down togetherâ€šÃ„Ã¹ with such euphoria that itâ€šÃ„Ã´s impossible not to be tempted.
Listening to Hissing Fauna, one canâ€šÃ„Ã´t help but wonder exactly who is this â€šÃ„Ãºfaun of a manâ€šÃ„Ã¹ whose â€šÃ„Ãºinner cosmology has become too dense to navigate.â€šÃ„Ã¹ But is Kevin Barnes ready to move from creator to personality? The video for â€šÃ„ÃºHeimdalsgateâ€šÃ„Ã¹ offers a clue. In a final scene he stands draped in plumage, regarding an audience through glitter eye-makeup with an expression that seems to say, â€šÃ„ÃºI am yours.â€šÃ„Ã¹