Of Montreal's Daughter of Cloud is full of wild eclecticism
Daughter of Cloud (Polyvinyl)
Of Montreal’s last few releases have been notoriously out-there, so it’s hardly surprising that the group’s nonalbum tracks from the same period have been equally freaky. Daughter of Cloud is a compilation of outtakes and rare tunes recorded between 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and the present, and it functions as another discombobulating glimpse into songwriter Kevin Barnes’s playfully perverse imagination.
Based on the evidence here, it seems that sex is something of an obsession for the singer. During the computerized “Jan Doesn’t Like It”, Barnes urges a lover to “Come play with my erection/Can’t you see that it’s standing at attention?” The soft-rock-tinged “Georgie’s Lament” is similarly X-rated, as Barnes repeatedly yelps, “My cock is so torn up about it.”
The songwriter’s oddball tangents are wonderfully inventive, although their effect is diluted somewhat by the collection’s overly long running time. Most of these 17 tracks eschew typical pop structures in favour of erratically shape-shifting arrangements, as jumbled electro-funk butts up against noise-laden rock and avant-soul exploration. Although thrilling in small doses, this wild eclecticism becomes exhausting after close to an hour. The wistful closing combo of “Noir Blues to Tinnitus” and the Buffalo Springfield cover “Expecting to Fly” comes as sweet relief after so much hyperactivity, but it’s too little too late to make this palatable for new listeners.
For devoted Of Montreal fans, however, this will be a compelling reminder of just how much sonic territory the band has covered in the last five years.