There’s a sort of giddy insanity that comes along with musical world of Kevin Barnes’ Of Montreal. From the beginning in the twee 60s pop rock of Cherry Peel to the emotional complexities on Hissing Fauna, You’re The Destroyer to the sexual awakenings of Skeletal Lamping, Barnes has used Of Montreal as both a rock and roll outfit and a form of therapy. There are no boundaries to his creativity or his musical muses. Classic rock, dance music, pop rock, and even non-binary electro doom have tickled Barnes’ fancy one time or another, bringing in as many new fans as he’s probably pushed away old ones.
But underneath it all, Of Montreal is a pop band thru and thru, with Barnes owing as much to Prince as he does to the Kinks. On Kevin Barnes’ newest release, the grand pop statement UR FUN, each track comes out of the gate like a hit single in waiting. There’s not a lagging song here. Big, ambitious songs performed entirely by Kevin Barnes at his home studio, UR FUN is a big technicolor personal pop album. You need only hit play and take the ride.
“Peace To All Freaks” opens the album on an exuberant note. Kevin Barnes can write a catchy pop track and this might be one of his catchiest in years. Riding on a electro beat and bouncy synths, Of Montreal takes us in early 80s dream pop territory. “If your dead inside/you don’t really age” Barnes sings as this great track brings us into the world of UR FUN. “Polyaneurism” continues that ride of 80s pop fun, with Barnes almost going full 80s Jeff Lynne, with just enough modern touches to remind us this isn’t some lost classic.
UR FUN is one catchy track after another. It’s the easiest listen Of Montreal has offered since 2013s Lousy With Sylvianbriar. “Gypsy That Remains” is a slice of electro funk, while “You’ve Had Me Everywhere” is an all out lovelorn ballad. “St. Sebastian” a darkly lit electro pop track with some serious Euro-pop vibes. “20th Century Schizofriendic Revengoid-man” closes out the new album on a new wave/punk note, like Plastic Bertrand and Devo had a lovechild.
UR FUN is a quick blast of radio-ready electro pop from one of our most eclectic and prolific songwriters working today. Of Montreal are back in a big way.
7.8 out of 10