Of Montreal, "Lousy with Sylvianbrian"
Of Montreal, "Lousy with Sylvianbrian" (Courtesy photo)
Let's start here: This is Of Montreal's 12th record. Through all that, they're developed a rep for being downright weird, a hipster touchstone. (Not that that's bad...usually.)

Lousy with Sylvianbriar, odd name aside, is a shift closer to normal for Of Montreal, who'd lately wandered maybe a little too far into the weird.

There's a Bob Dylan quality, but only in the sounds. The lyrics go right ahead and push back. On “Belle Glade Missionaries,” the band chugs along with a ‘70 rock casualness, but Kevin Barnes is singing, “Well you post naked gifs / Of you epileptic fits / And keep track of your hits / And your friends don't give a shit.” Maybe that's what Dylan would criticize if he started out now, but it's pointless to speculate. Later, Barnes takes a hit at meditation as protest, taking it down for being useless on “Hegira Emigre.”

It gets quite dark at times, with songs like “Colossus,” which depicts a sad family tale of suicide, or lines like “I had to make myself a monster just to feel something ugly enough to be true” on “Triumph of Disintegration.” Barnes' drowsy vocals lend a “that's just the way it is” attitude to all the sadness.

The bookends of Lousy with Sylvianbriar are where Of Montreal really nails it, in different ways. The opening “Fugitive Air” is a jangly 70s rock jam, but the last song, “Imbecile Rages,” let's some gnarly electric guitar work lead right into a deadpanned, “Your folks are such lovely people / I can't understand where you came from.”

Ouch. Barnes insists that your family might be losers and that your dreams are probably done, but it's hard not to like it. Unless you're not into the Dylan-vibe, in which case Lousy with Sylvianbriar will make you want to pen your own biting song in reply.