Of Montreal Frontman Speaks to New Times, Performs Sunday at Respectable Street

"You look like a playground to me, player," a lyric from Of Montreal's forthcoming False Priest, is one of the myriad ways frontman Kevin Barnes

keeps turning heads. Aside from an unpredictable stage show that can

involve face paint and coffins filled with shaving cream, this time

around, Barnes takes his band's aforementioned new album in a slightly

different direction -- one that makes Of Montreal's orchestral glam pop

thump like nothing before.

"Everything in a way is a project for me," Barnes told Courtney Hambright recently. "I don't think of us as having a specific sound or identity or responsibility to any genre. I approach every record with a fresh state of mind. I explore whatever's happening organically in my head. I haven't really second-guessed it or questioned it or anything. It's just like falling in love with someone, so I don't question it. If you question it, it just cheapens it. Taking it out of this blessed state of mind."

Augmented by studio whiz Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West, P.T. Anderson movies) and two of the real voices of R&B/soul today, Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae, the resulting album heads in the R&B-leaning directions of recent Dirty Projectors and a couple of double-letter outfits, jj and the XX. Barnes cites A Tribe Called Quest and Dr. Dre as influences as well.

As far as what will be on display at Respectable Street on Sunday night, it's probably going to involve a more stripped-down approach than the full-blown Of Montreal experience. The HoneyComb's Steve Rullman says Barnes will perform with an upright piano and guitar, which might conjure some memories of long-past gigs at the Wormhole record shop in the mid-'90s.

"Florida has always had a special place for us," Barnes said. "Colleges would pay us. When we started to become more popular, the scene seemed to grow there as fast as anywhere else. It became we can go down there because there's a lot of cool indie kids, and we've been having a lot of great shows in Miami and Orlando."

Kevin Barnes. With Fire Zuave and Sweet Bronco.  8 p.m. Sunday, August 8, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. 18 and older. Tickets cost $15. Call 561-832-9999, or click here.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer