If one were to describe of Montreal’s new record, he or she might consider phrases like “crazy,” “awesome,” and “crazy awesome.” Any further elaboration would be impossible, however, as one would inevitably find oneself dancing.
The disco iconoclasts are back with their tenth studio album, False Priest. As with previous efforts like the breakout Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and 2008’s Skeletal Lamping, of Montreal’s sound is a strange brew of musical styles. Funk, indie pop, R&B, gutsy falsetto, and strange-yet-straightforward lyrics — “Close your eyes and count to three/ I'll kiss you where I shouldn't be/ ‘Cause you look like a playground to me, playa,” — violently collide at a toe-tapping tempo.
The end result is Bee Gees on acid, Earth, Wind & Fire on speed, KC & The Sunshine Band on — well, you get the point. False Priest maintains accessibility while remaining substantial. The first listen is as infectious as the eighth is intriguing. What’s more, sorceress of soul Janelle Monáe adds a kick of soul while Solange Knowles wields enough seduction to rival her sister — you know, her name’s Beyoncé. You might have heard of her.
Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of of Montreal — besides, of course, its unique capitalization — is its refusal to take itself seriously. Both lyrically and musically, spontaneity is rarely lacking in any of the album’s 13 tracks. Whether it’s a completely out-of-the-blue hook or a spoken-word rant on how his girlfriend threw out his beta fish, front man Kevin Barnes always keeps the audience on its toes — if they’re not already tapping, that is.
And once the eardrums fall into this ecstatic state of restlessness, of Montreal hits ‘em hard with a full-blown punch of pop and sensuality on a mission to prove disco — not to mention indie pop — is anything but dead.