Skeletal Lamping, a complicated but extraordinary art piece.


In 2007’s masterful Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer, of Montreal frontman/visionary/songwriter Kevin Barnes got up close and personal, expressing his fears, frustrations and failures against rainbow-hued synth-pop with a funky, disco-fied swagger.

Skeletal Lamping finds Barnes in much better spirits and back to mining his psyche for material, the album playing much like you’d imagine his psyche actually works — jumping from one memory to another, lingering on sexual fantasies and depravities, stopping to muse and ruminate on this incident or that person, mood-shifting from confident to downtrodden, from high and happy to contemplative to spazzed-out, thoughts and ideas spurting forth lucid and witty, or as disorienting streams-of-consciousness. Soulful ditties and synth-pop dance numbers mingle amid songs-within-songs that are made up of a few or more wildly divergent electro-symphonic movements, each with its own rhythm and sound and feel that either fits comfortably or crashes inelegantly into the movement before or after it to create an interesting and truly exceptional, if sometimes chaotic and sonically challenging, whole.