Kevin Barnes is the kind of musical genius that you either lock into his insane, caffeinated trip or you don’t. I didn’t board the Barnes Express until Of Montreal’s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer back in 2007. It was the album that earned his psych pop project both accolades and new fans, as well as losing the ones that preferred his Elephant 6 psych folk done more like the Kinks as opposed to Prince. I found him fascinating and intoxicating.
When folks started jumping ship and thinking twice with albums like the brilliant Skeletal Lamping, False Priest, and the oh so underrated Paralytic Stalks, I was singing Barnes’ and Of Montreal’s praises to whomever would listen. Kevin Barnes is an artist in constant molding and constant movement. Each record is a leaping off point to new artistic and creative landscapes. I’m not sure Kevin Barnes can sit still and stay content. If he did I supposed that he might be more of a household name, maybe even close to a possible mainstream artist. But then we wouldn’t have albums like Skeletal Lamping, Paralytic Stalks, or Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer.
On January 17th Kevin Barnes returns with a new Of Montreal record. UR FUN was recorded solely by Barnes in his studio and sees the ever-evolving artist shedding the outfits, the androgyny, and characters for something more real. This is as close to a Kevin Barnes solo album that we’ve seen yet, with Of Montreal making an exhilarating synth pop album in the vein of 80s essentials like Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, Prince’s 1999, and Janet Jackson’s Control. Barnes made a record where every song could be a radio hit, but they’re never just pop hits. This is a personal record that goes beyond surface level fun. It’s a continuation of Kevin Barnes’ autobiographical albums. A maze of pop hooks, exquisite vernacular, and exceptional songwriting.
Listen to “Peace To All Freaks” below and preorder UR FUN here.