Of Montreal – Daughter of Cloud Of Montreal – Daughter of Cloud

I get Of Montreal. It is this fact that has led me to follow their work through whatever avenue the band has chosen to take. It was not always like this however. The band had been operating 10 years before I started to pay attention. I, like most people, jumped on at Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer? and have been following ever since. I have written much about this band and despite varying levels of enjoyment I have continued to “get” Of Montreal. I understand their direction and why they do what they do. I am nodding with approval. Imagine my surprise and delight when Polyvinyl announced Daughter of Cloud — a compilation of unreleased material stretching back to the era of Hissing Fauna.

The arc from Hissing Fauna in 2007 to Paralytic Stalks in 2012 is a deftly interesting narrative. The main albums along with various EPs construct a psychologically cosmic journey with various tie-ins and subplots. As I have written in the past, Hissing Fauna was one of Of Montreal’s strongest works as it allowed listeners the largest and most clear picture into the world of creator Kevin Barnes. Hissing Fauna was also the impetus to the development of subsequent albums and this is what interests me with Daughter of Cloud. Because of the interconnected themes and concepts, a new rarities compilation offers another dimension to an already established and engaging story. I used to be rabid about Of Montreal. I have not felt this way in a while but the madness is starting to come back.

Daughter of Cloud is a sketchbook to a greater collection of work. It is a series of quick paintings bound together in a glittery folio. Within the album, one can see traces, notes, and drafts of works made or still yet to be completed. Because the music is not presented chronologically, the listener is left with a mystery regarding context. While some songs, like “Out Love Is Senile,” and “Psychotic Feeling” are undoubtedly a part of the Hissing Fauna era (could be wrong about this one) others could be from any time from the frenetic Skeletal Lamping to the funk driven False Priest to even the painfully nostalgic Paralytic Stalks. Daughter of Cloud transcends a mundane b-sides collection and transforms itself into a new Of Montreal album which contain some of Barne’s most gestural work as well as some of the band’s best. The madness has returned.

It takes a certain group to make b-sides interesting and near essential to understanding. Daughter of Cloud is stellar if for nothing else than variation. There are flat out vulgar tracks like “Georgie’s Lament” only to be counterpointed by the grief stricken “Feminine Effects.” There are loosely hinged tracked like the lead single “Sail, Hermaphroditic” which surprisingly fit well with constructed songs like “Noir Blues to Tinnitus.” the fact that 5 years of wild experimentation is summarized on one album is breathtaking and allows fans and newcomers to experience Of Montreal’s pageant in under an hour.

I get Of Montreal. Years of associating with artists has prepared me for music that is reactionary and geared towards expression and concept. This needed to come out because…well, it needed to come out. Daughter of Cloud feels less like a ploy for attention and money and more like a genuine expression of a band that is long away from being done. I have fallen hard for this album because I understand the importance of process and need for reflection. You goddamn did it guys, you made me crazy again.

Daughter of Cloud Tracklist:

Our Love Is Senile
Sails, Hermaphroditic
Steppin’ Out
Hindlopp Stat
Partizan Terminus
Georgie’s Lament
Jan Doesn’t Like It
Feminine Effects
Tender Fax
Psychotic Feeling
Alter Eagle
Micro University
Subtext Read, Nothing New
Noir Blues to Tinnitus
Expecting to Fly (Buffalo Springfield cover)

Of Montreal - Daughter of Cloud, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-09-28T11:53:40-07:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

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