You wouldn’t know it, embarking on the gentle, woozy meander of ‘Sirens Of Your Toxic Spirit’ that of Montreal’s 12th studio album was recorded in three short weeks, but Kevin Barnes’ relentless thirst and understanding for song-writing appears to be somewhat unstoppable.
With Lousy With Sylvianbriar Barnes hones in on his penchant for classic singer-songwriters, drawing on Dylan-esque influences whilst maintaining the hints of psychedelia that has gained the band such notoriety from their inception almost two decades ago.
‘She Ain’t Speakin’ Now’, the first cut to emerge from the album, sparkles with folky slide guitar before carefully abrasive guitars appear; there is something unnerving about the regular movements from dark to light in the track.
The opening number sores you into proceedings before the trippy, Floyd-like hue of ‘Obsidian Currents’ provides a real album highlight. The use of a new collection of singers and players adds freshness to the record; the brilliantly strange ‘Raindrop In My Skull’ for example; “On the TV there’s a Mexican horror film/It isn’t dubbed, I’m not really watching” whimsically sums-up the albums, and indeed the bands, new, languid feel.
A hypnotic tone runs for the duration, highlighted best by ‘Belle Glade Missionaries’, with its enduring guitar work, while ‘Colossus’ tells a horribly melancholic family tale beneath the typically harmonious vocal line.
Fun, thought-provoking and gloriously intriguing, ‘Lousy’ is one thing this record certainly is not.