[Album Review] of Montreal – White is Relic/Irrealis Mood

From Athens, Georgia is the band of Montreal which come radiantly from within the depths of recurrent mind-binding musical trips which are in consequence of inspired 60’s psychedelic indie pop. Founded by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Kevin Barnes in 1996, of Montreal have gone on to release a mix of over a dozen albums and EPs since 1996, and on the 9th of March 2018, they’ve released their latest studio album, White is Relic/Irrealis Mood.

Said to be inspired by the dance mix tapes of the 1980’s, and a collection of artists and writings such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood comes in with a total of only 6 tracks, but all hit well above the 5 minute mark. The album features a collection of “split-tracks”, tracks which are divided into several pieces, sometimes in melodies, others in instrumentation and title, for example the album starts off with the track “Soft Music/Juno Portraits of the Jovian Sky.”

With Kevin Barnes quietly singing:

“Soft music drains the oxygen from besieged Bushwick streets,
reflexively retching Anglo influx, though there will be no gentrificating
of graffitied worship of summer love.
It’s hard to stop the triggering of one’s self-destructive urges.”

“Soft Music/Juno Portraits Of The Jovian Sky “ is clearly an indie pop track that contains a mix of intimate and personal lyrics, and it is also underlined by psychedelic bass-lines and the sometimes stoic but more frequently ardent vocals and melodies which support it.

At the albums midpoint is “Writing the Circles/Orgone Tropics”, which is a progressive indie pop track with lyrics such as “Did it happen the way we wanted? Maybe not. Maybe I love you like I love myself, not a lot.” which are filled with narcissism, but conversely, later in the track the chorus brings in a welcome amount of self reflection where Kevin sings to himself:

“Don’t complain about your personal hell.
You should be grateful you don’t have to share one
Naturally, it’s starting burn though
Writing the circles of your inferno
This acute loneliness that you feel
Has nothing to do with other people
A foundational flaw, I wish you
Could understand, it’s really the issue”

Ending the album is “If You Talk to Symbol/Hostility Voyeur”, and it is the longest track on the album coming in at eight minutes and thirty two seconds, and throughout that length the track makes evident that it is the albums greatest highlight and it is one of the most brilliant and inspiring tracks featured within its short track-list. The beginnings of the song are submerged in 80’s style synth-lines and ghostly melodies, that by the end of the track evolve into dark percussion, and then finally settles on a brilliant jazzy saxophone solo.

While White is Relic/Irrealis Mood contains a short track length, the quality of each track more than makes up for any such shortcoming, and the album proves to be one of the band’s best since the release of their 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Essential Tracks:

Soft Music/Juno Portraits of the Jovian Sky
If You Talk to Symbol/Hostility Voyeur

Altwire Staff:

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