Blend the sound of every major rock band of the 60’s, indie pop, 80’s synth pop and EDM in equal portion. Pepper the mixture with the new wave, funk and psychedelia of Prince. Now add LSD, a lot of mind bending LSD. Pour in every colour the rainbow holds and whisk the mixture until soft peaks of kaleidoscopic brilliance form. This is the unique sound that Of Montreal has created and explored in their fourteenth studio album, Innocence Reaches.
This album is quintessentially 21st century in it’s up to date social commentary. Let’s Relate opens the album with a new wave electro sound asking “How do you identify?” in a deadpan speech like vocal tone, exploring the topic of gender identity which has become ever more prominent in society’s discourse. The sound you are introduced to is ear bending, but is still somewhat comfortable to listen to when compared to many of the songs further down the list. It’s Different For Girls is the first single lifted off Innocence Reaches. It is the perfect starting point to acquaint yourself with Of Montreal’s peculiarities. This track has a fun and familiar 80’s synth indie pop feel about it, but is true to their trippy style by including some quirky musical ideas.
Despite their progressive (even futuristic) sound, there is always something recognisable in their tracks that draws you into the music. Gratuitous Abysses is a twisted approach to 60’s rock ’n roll with a slightly dream pop Beach Boy-esque melodic idea floating over the top in the chorus. Chaos Arpeggiating has a clear Beatles influence but presented with Of Montreal’s left-field flair.
Of Montreal explores dark subject matter in the lyrics, juxtaposed with upbeat and whimsical accompanying music; this effect can be disconcerting as in the track My Fair Lady. The tracks on the album will take you unexpected places. Ambassador Bridge starts off in an upbeat funk style and then seamlessly morphs into a shadowy electronica feel and back again. Their ability to fuse these varied genres together so smoothly is remarkable.
Of Montreal’s album Innocence Reaches is certainly an acquired taste and you’ll either keep coming back for more trying to figure out the ingredients and flavours of each track, or you’ll find all 12 servings unpalatable.