Aimless art projects with friends. Photo collage. A cassette player. Crafts not aggregated on Pinterest. Can play a song, if pressed. A long ago cherished item: a pin bought at a show in 2000. Remember Heavenly. Loved Marine Research. Archives of mailing lists contain a name, some notes, the most heartfelt words ever typed.
Slow tones. Emanating! See also: 18th Dye, Poolhouse Blue. Snowy white skies. Bonfire smoke. Dead trees (snags in the forest). Cigarettes, walks to and from the creek. Fog in the cemetery. A community assembled around an old kitchen table. Card games, cider, some wine, and a bag of chips.
Sundial is some San Francisco ichor. Or the SF of the past—long, long past. The music of the current San Francisco would be an unending musique concrete track of tenants’ objections and wails of despair as they’re evicted from their apartments; the sounds of people slurping Soylent and nootropics; keyboards clacking; and new portmanteaus like “disruptovate” and “pivotation” spoken in a chilling, quiet tone by an old man. Sundial is referring to a city that no longer exists. It’s a pretty artifact, a recreation, an optimistic sketch.
“Are you something aliquot?” Kevin Barnes asks this question midway through ‘let’s relate.’ Kevin Barnes is a lover of words; I think that’s apparent throughout Of Montreal’s discography. What’s impressive, to me, is the way that he uses that love in the service of creating catchy, weird, sometimes annoying, sometimes incredibly invigorating music. There’s no complacency with Barnes. Of Montreal is the band of an explorer, a tinkerer—and like with a lot of artists who are restless, who try things that they might not be precisely suited to try, there are some works that fall a little flat, and there are others, like this new album, Innocence Reaches, that align successfully with natural strengths. I mean, it’s just always fun to hear what Barnes does.
This is some classic, classic, classic-rock radio music distilled down into a kind of viscous syrup. Wyatt Blair has seized the spirit of double-shots, morning zoos, and roughhouse riffs and given that spirit expression on his album Point of No Return. Monday Morning Mess in particular is a great work of late-80s rock homage; it’s like a lighter, brighter Def Leppard (with the synths of Moody Blues’ Your Wildest Dreams (maybe?)). I kind of love it when musicians (and other artists) adore something so much that they recreate it wholesale; this is a work of obsession and devotion.