Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes has been able to create an astonishing body of work over a career that still has a ways to go. However, if I say that on this album, his band at times recalls The Cardigans, things doesn’t seem to be going all that well. Barnes does still sound adamant about what it is that he sings about in his high pitched, pleasant voice. But after the affable surprise of Satanic Panic in the Attic a few years back, Hissing Fauna seems indulgent in a more electronic and more difficult manner.
While “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal” will most likely get referred to as experimental psychedelia, the song doesn’t hold up when compared to other Elephant 6 related groups effort’s, or even Barnes’ from previous albums. It just sounds like a B-52’s song played four times in a row. It’s not that the B-52’s aren’t a viable influence or a bad place to start, it’s just that Barnes decides to please himself, perhaps without considering the listening audience. Is that the ear mark of a genius? Maybe it is. At the least, the geek funk of “Faberge Falls for Shuggie” brings a bit of soul to an otherwise electronically inclined incursion into experimentation that may only please a few long time die-hards.