Record Review - 1 October 23 2002

Time is a malicious trickster. It respects neither age nor position, always ready to transform the hopelessly fantastic into the fantastically hopeless without so much as a farewell kiss. It’s doing it right now to Of Montreal. With their sixth release, Aldhils Arboretum, the one-time clowns in the court of the Elephant 6 have become skulls in the indie-rock graveyard. Alas, poor Kevin Barnes — we knew him well. A fellow of excellent fancy and infantile jest, these days his act can barely coax a smile.

It’s not for lack of trying. Songs such as “Doing Nothing” and “The Blank Husband Epidemic” have all the sloppy jubilation of a Romper Room tribute to the Kinks. The problem is their regressive lyrics and Barnes’ babbling-preschooler delivery. There may have been a time when songs about pancakes and Yorkshire Terriers were capital humor, but now they’re about as charming as Carrot Top. Worse, they ransack the music’s shambling charm, reducing otherwise amiable pop to insufferable kitsch.

And so it goes for Of Montreal. They have borne us on their backs a thousand times, but now they’re old and tired. Don’t fret — they’re not the first to go down this way and they won’t be the last. Just wait and see what five years does to the Liars.

Of Montreal play The Earl Fri., Oct. 25.??