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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Of Montreal: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

    The Shins, move over – Of Montreal is releasing a much better and more interesting album this Tuesday.

    Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? is the eighth album from the Athens, Ga.group, and features the best of what they have to offer: infectious lyrics, turbulent electronics and psychedelic instrumental passages. Frontman Kevin Barnesshines with his creative vocals laced with brilliant imagery.

    The album’s best “”song”” spans more than eight minutesand two tracks titled “”Gronlandic Edit”” and “”A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger.””

    A grooving bass intro is followed by some of the record’s most thought-provoking and/or offensive lyrics, including “”the church is filled with losers, psycho or confused”” and “”physics makes us all its bitches.””

    Another choice track is the more conventional “”She’s a Rejecter,”” featuring guitars that would make Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads proud. Again, the real star here is Barnes, with his references to “”Robocop”” and the girl of his dreams: “”God.””

    Fauna is the kind of album that makes others seem bland and monotonous. There’s no doubt that Barnes and company squeezed every last drop of energy and creativity into what is, so far, the best record of the year.

    Score: 8/10

    -Patrick Valenzuela


    Sonic Youth: The Destroyed Room

    How does one judge an album of B-sides? Its very title suggests that these songs were not up to snuff when compiling some other record.

    For the sake of this review, let’s pretend that The Destroyed Room is just another album by the quarter-century old Sonic Youth and not a collection of B-sides and rarities.

    “”Fire Engine Dream”” is aptly named, as odd as that sounds. Ten minutes plus of high-strung, spacey guitars and incessant thumping drums give it a very hazy, hallucinatory feel. Not sure what they were trying to accomplish here – maybe an experiment in hypnosis through repetition?

    While listening on, I was beginning to think I was in for some sort of lyric-free, post-prog concept album, until some lyrics surfaced during the third track, “”Razor Blade,”” an acoustic-driven number with bassist/guitarist Kim Gordon.

    “”Blink,”” with its breathy vocals and train-station sound effects, is the first track that makes you take notice of what this band is capable of.

    The layers of fuzzed-out guitars and other menageries continue to pop up throughout the album in songs like “”Campfire”” and “”Beautiful Plateau.”” These never seem to break out with any kind of climax or resolution; all the excitement remains just below the surface.

    When I first heard “”Kim’s Chords,”” I thought some other band had slipped into the studio and snuck a track on the record. It’s the closest thing to a pop song on here, with catchy guitar riffs instead of meandering. Not exactly “”happy,”” but definitely upbeat.

    If one track gets the post-prog formula of washed-out guitars and anti-lyrics right, it’s the closing track “”Diamond Sea.”” After about eight minutes, it melts from a potent song about not missing out on love into a lush soundscape that would make My Bloody Valentine proud.

    Overall, the album has a little too much atmospherics going on, without much underneath all the haze. But when they focus that creativity for a few brief moments, Sonic Youth still shines through.

    Score: 8/10

    – Derek Jordan

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