Hear ye, hear ye -- "The Sunlandic Twins" is the best album that Of Montreal has made in ages. In past years they've dipped more into electro-dancepop. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just didn't seem as good as the old days, when Kevin Barnes and Co. performed folky, innocent indiepop.
But in this charming concept album, the band's early twee music is married to the more recent electropop. The result: what Barnes calls an electropop opera. "Sunlandic Twins" opens on a strong instrumental note, but hits its groove with songs like "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games," a fun little poppy tune given a few electronic flourishes.
That trippy twee trend continues throughout the album, broken by a few vivid dance tracks, sunny jangle-pop, a charming ballad or two, and some experimental numbers. Even a few songs that boldly go where Of Montreal hasn't gone before: "The Repudiated Immortals" seamlessly blends piano with electronic beats and vocal harmonies. Cow bells, catchy riffs, electronic flourishes and some very odd strings add quirk value.
"The Sunlandic Twins" is a bit different from previous Of Montreal albums, though. This time around, Kevin Barnes played most of the instruments, sang in his Beatlesy voice, wrote the songs, and produced the album too. The only thing he didn't do seems to be the quirky cover art. In other words, Of Montreal basically IS Barnes.
One thing about Of Montreal that never changes is their abstract acid-poetry. Even the titles are glorious weird: "Death of a Shade of a Hue," "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games" and "The Repudiated Immortals." Not to mention the lyrics, which will sprain your brain if you try to decipher them. Just enjoy the nonsensical prettiness of them: "Let's pretend we don't exist; let's pretend we're in Antarctica..."
There's also a four-song EP accompanying the album proper. There's nothing too different about this EP, with its catchy pop melodies and weird lyrics; it merely sounds like an extension of "Sunlandic Twins." Maybe all these songs wouldn't fit on one disc.
"The Sunlandic Twins" continues the trend of trippy, sunny psych-pop for listeners who don't mind a spoonful of sugar (or two, or three) with their music.