Always a proponent of the ubiquitous glam rock alter ego, Kevin Barnes uses Of Montreal’s tenth studio album, False Priest, to add a new layer to his persona. It is part Prince, part Andre 3000, all holy funk.
However, unlike the past few efforts, False Priest signals a call home from outer space. The result is music that is equally as grounded as it is sublimely weird. It’s their most accessible record to date, if ever, because of their return to live instrumentation. But it isn’t a masterpiece, like their inaccessible 2007 concept album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? was.
Accessibility doesn’t rid False Priest of craziness.
K. Barnes croons about crazy girls in the outstanding Janelle Monae feature, “Our Riotous Defects.” The first single, “Coquet Coquette” isn’t their strongest tune, but its bassline and guitar riffs rollick like a funkdafied version of a matador fight song. No one ever said Of Montreal wasn’t impossibly epic. Throw in a steamy Solange (Beyonce’s little sis shows some indie sex appeal) collaboration in “Sex Karma” and you’ve got an album full of sonic treasures. “You Do Mutilate?” is a seven-minute overdose on antidepressants and politics ( sample lyrics: “When will certain people realize an afterlife is nothing to live for?”) .
I triple-dog dare you to listen to this album on headphones. Alone. False Priest is enough to make the most cynical of atheists believers.