Kevin Barnes, leader of Athens, Georgia’s Of Montreal, plays almost every instrument on The Sunlandic Twins himself. The credits say, “Produced, arranged, composed, performed, engineered, and mixed by” with the name “Prince” crossed out and “Kevin Barnes” in its place. But put on the album, and it’s no joke.
Part of what makes Of Montreal notable is the quantity of things Barnes does impeccably. Power-pop, ’60s sunshine-pop vocal arrangements, new wave? Oh, yes. (In a recent interview, he noted how no one currently reviving new wave has a song as joyful as “Come On Eileen.” Here, he cranks out two.) He’s also a veritable Paul McCartney on bass, and he can sing bubblegum like Tommy James or warble like Russell Mael, and he does disco, too, with synthesized strings and trumpet arrangements (though he didn’t play the trumpets). And now he even writes layered, sometimes interlocking, guitar and bass parts, seemingly influenced by Nigerian juju.
Last song: “Every Day Feels Like Sunday.” Some songs go right to the chorus after the first verse; the pull is too great, and you just surrender to the ecstasy. But “Every Day” is rarer—it starts with the chorus. It just is the ecstasy.
Of Montreal play Northsix April 16.