of Montreal is one of those bands that has been around for over two decades whose sound has immensely evolved while taking inspiration from 1960s psychedelic pop and creating albums that are fun to dance to. The band was formed in 1996 by Kevin Barnes who supposedly came up with the name after a failed romance in Montreal. As it is natural for a band that has been making music for so long, the line-up had quite a bit of turnover especially as the music would evolve. Currently, the line-up includes Clayton Rychlik, Jojo Glidewell, Davey Pierce and Bennett Dean Lewis.
What started out as a solo act with Barnes, soon turned into a band with the debut album “Cherry Peel” (1997) on which Barnes wrote all the tracks. After that, they proceeded to make six more albums with heavy accents on indie pop before ending their partnership with Kindercore Records, which led of Montreal to become Barnes’ solo effort. “Satanic Panic in the Attic” (2004) and “The Sunlandic Twins” (2005) were the first ones released with Polyvinyl Records, which is to this day their current label. The albums portrayed a shift into an electronic sound, which with the coming of 2008 then moved into funk and really brought the band a breakthrough.
In 2008, the band released “Skeletal Lamping” in ten different formats. While fans could buy original formats like CDs and vinyl, they could also purchase t-shirts, buttons, wall decals and such, which came with the album download code. In this regard, the band was ahead of the game realizing that the music industry is shifting from physical albums that sit on shelves to an audience that desires convenience and usefulness out of their purchases. For the next five years, the band went on tour, got involved with charities, lent out songs to commercials, tv shows and films, released a cassette box set, recorded four more albums, caught the eye of some major music publications and moved into their next sound era that echoed of progressive rock influences.
“Lousy with Sylvianbriar” (2013) was an interesting shift as Barnes went on an isolation experiment to write the tracks and additionally, it was the first album to have a major line-up change since Barnes had taken on a solo effort. The album was heavily inspired by Sylvia Plath, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young and the Flying Burrito Brothers. The following album “Aureate Gloom” (2015) was inspired by the New York music scene in the 70s as well as bands like Talking Heads and Led Zeppelin.
As of recent, the band has shifted back to the electronic dance funk sound that we have experienced with their album “Innocence Reaches” (2016) and EP “Rune Husk” (2017). These albums portray the musical knowledge of the band as they have begun to incorporate EDM-like sounds that have become extremely popular in the past couple of years. Yet, their sound is still so very of Montreal and if they have expressed anything in the past two decades, it’s that no matter how much their sound evolves, it will always be a reflection of what they love and want to do, never to satisfy the commercial world.