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Preview: Of Montreal

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the band coming to Howlin' Wolf Nov. 16



"How can I unmake someone else's mistakes?" Like so many of the lizard-like tongue flicks on Lousy With Sylvianbriar (Polyvinyl), Kevin Barnes never answers the stinging rhetorical question on "Fugitive Air," the opening salvo of his third — and, though it's really saying something, maybe most surprising — contender for Of Montreal's finest hour. He doesn't have to. After successive downward spirals, on which Barnes audibly lost what little sanity he had left ("I'm used to all of my scruples deserting me," he spews like spiked Kool-Aid on the album's strutting first stanza), this post-traumatic stress reliever is all about unmaking his own. Even those accustomed to being bowled over by Barnes' dysphoric mania ought to be floored by this sly bilious concoction, an expertly balanced mickey of sugared boogie-woogie and poisoned penmanship — or, mashing up his uncut, wonderfully cutting words, "the triumph of disintegration, victories of devastation." Thus he sets out mincing his enemies, and Barnes has never sounded so sweet being so thoroughly mean. "I had to make myself a monster just to feel something ugly enough to be true," he warns too late. On swooning centerpiece "Colossus" and hoarse climax "Imbecile Rages," his whips and quips ("Your folks, they are such lovely people/ I can't understand where you came from"; "Maybe your family, they are just losers") are a kind of demoralized couplet therapy: With no choices at the present, find the value in things unpleasant. Rareluth opens. Tickets $15. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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