of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes’ personal life can be summed up as being a lot of noise. Deemed a personal album, Paralytic Stalks, the eleventh of the group’s albums, is a 9-song, hour-long whirlwind of exploration.
Lyrics are few and far between, and will leave listeners pondering what it all means. Vocals in opener “Gelid Ascent” sound distant and dreamy, while lyrics in “Spiteful Intervention” become direct and strong: “It’s fucking sad that we need a tragedy to occur to gain a fresh perspective in our lives/Nothing happens for a reason, there’s no point even pretending.” “We Will Commit Wolf Murder” is an outrageous slew of sound. “Malefic Dowery” sounds like if your adventure dreams had a soundtrack. The end of “Wintered Debts” reminds one of a scary “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” episode where a girl gets trapped in a doll house. And I’m not exactly sure when we’re supposed to listen to “Excorcismic Breeding Knife.” At a Halloween party?
While Barnes does have the gift of being able to maintain a melody amidst all the sound, there are several periods when the sound doesn’t do anything but be noisy and get boring or just weird enough to be un-listenable. Barnes has the freedom to make every beat exactly how he wants, and he does. He’s able to produce layer upon layer of vocals and sound, automatically making Paralytic Stalks an interesting and intricate album.