Diehard Of Montreal listeners will certainly love their new EP, Rune Husk. It gathers everything that defines the group — both the good and the bad — and throws it together for the typical indie rock lover. Since their debut in 1997, Of Montreal have always teetered somewhere in between the indie and experimental music genres, with a sound that pulls from ’70s psychedelic rock. Hints of inspiration from classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead and David Bowie are apparent throughout the whole EP. Vocalist Kevin Barnes is able to tap into a world that only the likes of Roger Daltrey and Jim Morrison have touched. Rune Husk continues to showcase the strength of Of Montreal’s frontman as well as his supporting cast after years of wear and tear as humans and band members.
The group’s latest release shows how they have matured, embracing instrumentals that sound similar to the masterful work of The Album Leaf and Sigur Ros. The first song on the EP, “Internecine Larks,” opens up with piano that is rather slow, accompanied by equally dreary vocals. Its feel reminds one of The Beach Boys, but infused with sad and creepy undertones. Deafening instrumentals and strong emotions lurk behind the piano. Considering the lethargic tempo, these unique elements drive the piece, helping it to stand out.
The next song, “Stag to the Stable,” starts up more upbeat and seems to be influenced by both Tom Petty and Lou Reed. The guitar riffs are stark, staticky and short, giving the song an old-school vibe that takes cues from The Velvet Underground, complete with a drawl that reminds one of the Sex Pistols. It sounds like it could be placed in an Apple commercial, and might’ve been a more appropriate choice as the album opener.
The third track, “Widowsucking,” interestingly starts off with guitar riffs that sound like alien lasers. Focusing heavily on the drums and the bass in the background, it embraces a psychedelic theme that is apparent down to the singer’s voice. This song is long — almost angry — and sounds much more like The Cramps. It’s definitely one of the EP’s strongest offerings.
“Island Life,” the final song on Rune Husk, has a misleading title. It takes on a downtempo electronic vibe, complete with the saddest manifestation of Barnes’s voice on the record. Just like the opening song, it establishes a creepy vibe, complete with an almost gothic sound.
The EP’s musical aesthetic is incredibly fitting for the band, considering their past records. Rune Husk is an example of a band that are staying close to what they know, but still changing enough symphonically to stay with the changing times. Rune Husk is very different and holds eloquence, but is still quite similar to many of the other albums from Of Montreal’s catalog that we have grown to love.