Sat May 28
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
"You labeled me in 40 tries and in case you didn't realize, I was a landscape in your dream and all my mountains were on fire," Kevin Barnes sings on "I Was A Landscape in Your Dream." The Of Montreal frontman and songwriter may sound like he's in the midst of one of his loopier couplets on his band's seventh psyche-pop record The Sunlandic Twins, but something is different here. The album returns to his earlier, more personal subject matter--still with plenty of strange details and magical-realist scenarios. For instance, The Sunlandic Twins title comes from a dream that Barnes' wife Nina had in which she and her husband were the only two inhabitants of a planet called Sunlandia. "It's the perfectly strange metaphor for being in love," he says by phone, "feeling both immersed in and isolated in an emotional state."
"I guess I'd describe it as poppy head music," Barnes says of the new album and the sound he's attracted to right now--Low-era Bowie, Brian Eno's solo work, and early Talking Heads. It's good company to keep--which isn't surprising for a musician who was part of the Athens, Georgia-based Elephant 6, the sprawling musical collective with a definite '60s psychedelic vibe to their songs.
The scope of some of the albums was impressive-- The Gay Parade featured 40 musicians, including a soaring choir and a loose conceptual framework with a cast of absurdist characters. "The first few albums were personal. I was in love with this girl and writing about that experience. When I fell out of love with her I decided not to write love songs and so I turned to characters," Barnes says. "They were whimsical, cartoony scenarios so if you weren't in the mood for that then it wouldn't have much appeal. [The recent] music is sort of like you're in this music, in the head of the person making it, and it's very dense with ideas. It's a little schizophrenic."