Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes makes pop music out of guitars, synths, and anxiety. There's no better example of his melodramatic tendencies than "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal," a track off the band's 2007 album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, which catalogs his marital troubles. It's an intoxicating 12-minute descent into madness with the sort of hyperliterate lyrics that leave critics drooling. (He references Story of the Eye, a Georges Bataille novella about the sexual perversions of teenaged lovers.)
If you slowed down his shout-sung lyrics and dropped them into sparser arrangements, you'd have the Magnetic Fields. Consider Stephen Merrittesque lyrics like "Somehow you've red rovered/the Gestapo guarding my heart." But Of Montreal is anything but sparse. It packs in guitar riffs, drum loops, and synths that push Barnes' lyrics forward into a mania that makes audiences delirious.
But when Of Montreal is not sardonically depressed, it can be downright schmaltzy. The band dabbled in self-described "A.D.D. electro cinematic avant-disco" in previous albums like The Sunlandic Twins. In its 2008 album, Skeletal Lamping, Barnes performs as an alter ego named Georgia Fruit, a 40-year-old, post-op African-American man. He claims Fruit was born during the 12 minutes of "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal." We told you it's a magical song.