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Of Montreal gets political, shifts sound on ‘lousy with sylvianbriar’
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Gone are the days of trippy, surreal, all-encompassing soundscapes from the beloved band of Montreal, sounds that called on everything from disco to chamber orchestrations — at least for now. With “lousy with sylvianbriar,” Kevin Barnes left his home in Athens, Ga., and chased some newfound sonic tendencies to San Francisco, where he wrote the bulk of lousy in a matter of three weeks. The resulting record doesn’t even sound like an of Montreal production. The frenetic, experimental dance tracks and funk meditations have been ditched for straightforward guitar and the kind of timeless rock arrangements that put Haight Ashbury on the map back in the ’60s. This shift was an organic one — Barnes wasn’t entirely sure he was writing an of Montreal record while he was working on “lousy” — but it’s a deliberate shift, in that Barnes, more than ever, has turned the focus on a body of work that shows he’s got something to say. Before heading to Boston for a sold-out headlining show at the Middle East tomorrow, we spoke with Barnes about “lousy,” this undeniable stylistic change-up, and how this record could affect future releases from of Montreal. More