Tuesday, January 24, 2017

of Montreal - Rune Husk Review

For a collection of outtakes from an otherwise unremarkable LP, you wouldn't have assumed Rune Husk to be all that impressive. However, interestingly enough, as I've said since I first landed my sights on of Montreal, the group founded and led by Kevin Barnes are infinitely more enjoyable in bite-sized pieces than full-blown affairs. Last year's Innocence Reaches had moments. For fans of the group, and especially those clinging onto their baited greatness, these high marks are not out of the ordinary. To me personally, Innocence Reaches was frustrating because memorable passages came and went but never represented the LP. There was the nauseatingly addictive finale to 'Les Chants De Maldoror,' the Bowie-replicating chorus of 'Chaos Arpeggiating,' and the Twee Pop diddy found in 'A Sport And A Pastime's' production. But never, apart from maybe the album's closer 'Chap Pilot,' did everything work in unison. And besides, 56 minutes of bristling chaos the likes of which only the cover art represents, is hardly ever fun in bulk. Forgotten tracks fell through the wedges, like forced fillers beefing up a stat sheet. Remove the fluff, fine-tune those best moments, and Innocence Reaches becomes a small, brimming pocket full of fun. You know, just like Rune Husk.

Ever since first hearing their magnum opus Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, I've been wanting to find a balance with of Montreal. That album, a cacophony of ideas, sounds, and unusual structures, felt like the climax where it finally all worked. Theoretically, I never needed to listen to another of Montreal album again. They weren't necessary, nor added anything that album hadn't already accomplished. Newer efforts would've been enjoyable at a passing glance, like a candy at the check-out line. But unlike that temporary satisfier, retracing your steps to find the candy in bulk section would've been an unneeded affair, especially if you still had a bag waiting at home. Is the analogy becoming too invested with itself? Yeah, likely. Point being, Rune Husk are those tasty treats. Four songs, 17-minutes are all that's needed. Any more and it would've become stale. This isn't to say any song in particular, apart from the magnificent 'Island Life,' wouldn't have been forgotten on a larger project, it's just that here, with only four pieces, you're forced to admire. Even still, the three initial works feel like vital of Montreal tracks, packed to the brim with Barnes' odd idiosyncrasies that tip-toe the line between nonsensical and fully aware.

Add in 'Island Life,' an immediate detour from the previous three, and you have four songs that showcase different facets of of Montreal. With the massive production, brooding and devastatingly anthemic, 'Island Life' is my clear favorite, made even more so by Barnes' drawling monotone throughout. It's an epic close, and one of my early 2017 highlights. However, the raucous Psychedelic Rock of 'Stag To The Stable' tangles of Montreal's modern Neo-Psychedelia with their classic influence about as effortlessly as they've ever shown. Plus it boasts an incredibly strong hook, with Barnes' charisma through the roof. And while 'Internecine Larks' isn't as catchy, the opening track illustrates of Montreal's range quite well, switching scantily between vibes. Not necessarily a bad thing, 'Internecine Larks' just doesn't hit the highs the next three tracks will offer, 'Widowsucking' included. On the surface, a rudimentary of Montreal track without much unique identifiers to boot, 'Widowsucking' lingers long enough for you to feel the intricacies bubble. The copious vocal effects on display remind me of Animal Collective's latest Painting With, had that album actually succeeded at what it set out to do. Overall, Rune Husk works because of how small it is. It's the candy bar at check-out urging you to eat it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment