Kevin Barnes’ psycho-pop act, of Montreal, has been making music for over two decades now, and his sixteenth release, UR FUN, is a fitting addition to a discography that’s an endless ode to the weirdo in all of us.
The album immediately transports the listener to a year not quite 80s, not quite 90s, not quite planet Earth. Drawing influences from the likes of power-pop legends Janet Jackson and Cyndi Lauper, there’s a hypnotic rhythm at the center, with each song constructed around a catchy chorus that sticks to the roof of the mouth like peanut butter. Some songs, like ‘Get Gods Attention by Being an Atheist’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Die in America’ are more traditional indie-pop in the vein of a light-hearted Smashing Pumpkins, while others like ‘St. Sebastien,’ lend more towards a psychotropic breed of dance.
Recording the album solo, Barnes holed himself up in a studio for 12-hour days and created a lyrically personal window into the life of a man who’s lost in his love. You’d think that after all this time Barnes might have settled on a particular sound that he liked and run with it. But where of Montreal excels is in the glory of experimentation and the inability to sit still.