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Paralytic Stalks


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Amazon's of Montreal Store

Music

Image of album by of Montreal

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Image of of Montreal

Biography

The brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was among the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. A native of Athens, Georgia, Barnes was inspired to form the euphoric indie pop group in the wake of a broken romance with a woman from Montreal. He signed with Bar/None Records while living in Florida, subsequently moved to Cleveland and ... Read more in Amazon's of Montreal Store

Visit Amazon's of Montreal Store
for 34 albums, 9 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Paralytic Stalks + False Priest + Lousy with Sylvianbriar
Price For All Three: £30.94

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Product details

  • Audio CD (6 Feb. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • ASIN: B006HH614O
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Gelid Ascent 4:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Spiteful Intervention 3:38£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Dour Percentage 4:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. We Will Commit Wolf Murder 5:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Malefic Dowery 2:36£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Ye, Renew The Plaintiff 8:46£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Wintered Debts 7:36£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Exorcismic Breeding Knife 7:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Authentic Pyrrhic Remission13:15Album Only

Product Description

Paralytic Stalks musical and lyrical directions are infinitely more personal than anything of Montreal frontman
Kevin Barnes has written since 2007 s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (which was featured on 30 bestalbum
lists including Pitchfork, RollingStone, etc).

Recorded at Barnes s home studio in Athens, GA, Paralytic Stalks is a stimulating array of densely packed ideas
presented with stunning agility. Each track feeds off the last in what seems a singular album-long movement that
never allows you to rip your ears away. Paralytic Stalks at times resembles modern classical with its intricate
compositions, while at others echoes of neo-prog, pseudo-country, and 60s pop.
The album cover features new art from David Barnes (who recently published his debut art book What s Weird? on
Polyvinyl). The 2xLP (double 180-gram yellow vinyl with digital download) also includes a 12 x 24 pull-out poster.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By t.g. beuys on 10 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is surely Of Montreal's finest hour that seems to be able to encompass all manner of sounds and influences into a coherent whole of experimental avante garde pop. One can hear traces of Bowie (Young Americans era), Captain Beefheart, Queen and contemporary classical composers such as Ligeti in the mix, though as a whole this could not be anyone except Of Montreal. Some reviewers (Pitchfork etc.) seem to be perplexed by the level of experimentation but isn't that what Of Montreal do best? In amongst the stunning sonic fireworks however are beautiful, catchy and sad pop songs about Kevin Barne's ongoing mental breakdown that manage to be both compelling and truly heartfelt. A brave and moving album.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt on 6 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD
of Montreal always rank highly in my list of anticipated releases, whenever a new album is due to drop my pupils dilate, I salivate and become a totally irrational human being for a good months or so. So why have I been so quiet about this particular release? Well needless to say it all feels like a 2nd rate release from the ho hum singles, lack of hype and general lack of interest from even the biggest of of Montreal fans this album sort of sunk without a trace & when I finally did get the chance to hear it... it was quite easy to see why. I've loved of Montreal Mach 2 and everything they've done to varying degrees & I personally thought the Prince Funk Pop inspired 'False Priest' was amongst their very best albums, however this album doesn't sit right... it's all over the place and rarely holds an idea down but not in the strange and hypnotic way Skeletal Lamping did..... this album is trying to find a new voice and I respect it for trying but this album doesn't leave an impression of any kind and that's really worrying from a band that prides it's self on grabbing peoples attention, this isn't a weak album it's just down right bad.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Just buy it. Seriously, who are you kidding? I bet you just purchased Nicki Minaj or something, you jerk. Way to go. 14 Feb. 2012
By icicle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is has got to be the best album to come out of 2012 so far, and, in my not-so-humble opinion, pretty much overshadows almost every other pop album released over the last entire year (although the term 'pop album' is barely justifiable). Do yourself a favor: buy it. Listen to it over and over again until Kevin Barnes' voice drives your emotions over a cliff and into the haunting abyss that is his mind. Paralytic Stalks offers an even darker glimpse into Barnes' psyche, seeming to reach even farther into the depths than on False Priest or Skeletal Lamping. It holds true to their seductive sweetness, while drenching us in an electronic hell of sonic existential horror that is unparalleled in its sheer musical and emotional depth by what other pop artists of our time are passing off as entertainment. Settling for anything less than the quality of this work is to be both held prisoner by your own complacency and to be deprived of something truly beautiful.

"Dour Percentage" is an immediate hit for those expecting a progression of sorts from False Priest's sound, although the whole album has a more organic feel, with its flute and sax arrangements. As always, there are hooks everywhere, but they feel increasingly often as if they're being pulled like teeth right out of my skull. "Wintered Debts" is one of the catchiest damn lyrical see-saws my brain has ever had the pleasure of being hijacked on, but it takes some serious work to wrap your mind around before the addiction sets in. "We Will Commit Wolf Murder", immersing our ears in another one of Barnes' brilliant vocal layering exercises, is yet another treasure, which didn't occur to me to begin with; these songs always take me a good five or six listens to even begin to appreciate. Don't give up on them; some are an acquired taste.

While the break in the middle of the thirteen-minute-long "Authentic Pyrric Remission" can't hold everyone's attention, the first movement alone is enough to keep me interested, and the ballad at the end of the album is well worth the wait. Maybe I just have too much free time, but the calamitous soundscapes produced in "Exorsismic Breeding Knife" feel kind of perfectly hung in between "Wintered Debts" and "Authentic..." like some sort of willful transgression from consistency. The anticipation is half of the fun, and the spontaneity of Paralytic Stalks is certainly refreshing to me; as with basically every Of Montreal album of late, it is a nigh unpalatable journey tinged with a bit of hyper-aware sadism on the part of both the writer and the listener.

If you are new to Of Montreal, (first of all...WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?) this album certainly has the potential to turn you away. In no way is it as accessible as Sunlandic Twins, but if that is the band you want to hear, stick to the singles if you must (just know that I will anonymously hate you for it). It shares more similarities with Skeletal Lamping, with its rapid juxtapositions, though its musical ideas feel more thoroughly explored. Paralytic Stalks is intense, complex, and has a little something special for every Of Montreal fan. Almost every song feels like it could be a cue taken straight off a previous album; however this is not to say we are being led in circles. On the contrary, these songs are fresh, exciting examples of how incredibly technically proficient Barnes has become as a recording artist.

My advice: see them live. You will not be disappointed. One of the best things about this band is their live show. Paralytic Stalks tour begins 2/17.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks 7 Feb. 2012
By Rudolph Klapper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It was sometime around the third or fourth extended coda, amidst buzzsaw guitar riffs, cheesy sci-fi space effects, the jarring tonal shifts and the occasional burst of fire alarm noise, that I resigned myself to a particular fact: Kevin Barnes is never going to change. Or, to put it another way - he's always going to change, usually with a middle finger aimed in the general direction of his last record. And really, there's no incentive for him to rein himself in: ever since The Sunlandic Twins of Montreal has become a one-man show, and certainly no one is holding their breath waiting for Polyvinyl to edit their biggest draw. So it is that we get an album like Paralytic Stalks, one that is as sprawling, egomaniacal and bat**** insane as any Barnes has put down. This lack of an editor is what leads to a song like the divisive "Exorcismic Breeding Knife," a song so obviously anti-commercial and contrary to what of Montreal have built their sound on that it's less an actual song and more a referendum on just how far Barnes can go nowadays before people bat an eye. Chances are this one won't be on an Outback commercial anytime soon.

Make no mistake - this is nothing new for Barnes. Sure, he has been talking up 20th century minimalism in interviews - Penderecki, Ives, Schoenberg - but those are just convenient touchstones for an increasingly out-there experimentalism that has been a recurring theme in late-period of Montreal: Hissing Fauna's "The Past is a Grotesque Animal;" "You Do Mutilate" off of 2010's False Priest; the scattershot framework of Skeletal Lamping. The difference between those songs and "Exorcismic Breeding Knife," though, is the latter's utter lack of purpose. It's simply there, a seven-and-a-half minute-long burst of atonality and spoken word nightmares, which creates quite the atmosphere but begs the question: why? It's cold and it's clinical, all feelings Barnes was probably going for, but in the context of Paralytic Stalks, an album predicated on Barnes being more heart-on-his-sleeve than he's ever been before, it's worse than pointless.

It's a shame, because, for much of Paralytic Stalk's first half and even for most of the more unhinged second act, Kevin Barnes strikes a near-perfect balance between pop mastery and a delightful sort of weird. This, of course, has a lot to do with Barnes' famously acerbic lyrics, which take a turn for the better here despite his propensity for using language only an English professor could love. He hasn't sounded this engaged since Hissing Fauna, nor have his vocals ever sounded quite so strained. That's the good thing about Paralytic Stalks - even when you can't really understand what Barnes is saying, between the deranged yelps and those easily understood tidbits ("It's ******* sad / that we need a tragedy / to gain a fresh perspective in our lives" goes one stomach-punch of an opening), you can generally get the feeling that this is coming from a dark and deeply personal place. Nothing is ever going to stop Barnes from naming a song "Malefic Dowery" or writing lyrics like "naturally I want to help you invoke the architect of salutary memes / our heads are pregnant with divine mechanics but, oh, how we're tyrannized / by tentacles of their ferine stupidity." But occasionally a gem will pop up like "once more I turn to my crotch for counsel," or Barnes will descend back down to the tongue of humans for a moment and speak with touching frankness ("I spend my waking hours haunting my life / I made the one I love start crying tonight" goes the weeping refrain from "Spiteful Intervention"). It's a reminder that of Montreal is, first and foremost, a vehicle for Barnes to express his innermost grievances and joys, and given the embarrassingly bare-bones style and narcissist bent, you have to admire just how plainly he lays all his cards out on the table.

Where Paralytic Stalks really shines, however, is through its hooks. The sequence from "Spiteful Intervention" through "Ye, Renew the Plaintiff" is Barnes' strongest since Hissing Fauna, and it's blissfully unaware of the existential baggage it has to carry. "We Will Commit Wolf Murder" and "Malefic Dowery" are probably two of the most "traditional" of Montreal songs here; the former a catchy pop-rock number with a muscular bass line and an out-of-left-field vamp in the outro, while the latter calls to mind the sweeter melodies of the Elephant 6 days and one of the more pleasantly lush productions on the record. "Ye, Renew the Plaintiff," meanwhile, might be the best track here, not only for its surprisingly jagged guitar solo and propulsive chorus but also for the way it perfectly bridges Paralytic Stalk's quite disparate halves. "I can think of nothing but getting my revenge / make those ******* pay," Barnes screams, and that's where the guitar really goes off, spiraling up into a glorious distortion before abruptly tailing off into the song's second half, where things rapidly go from angry to weird. Here, though, it's all according to plan: the way the song builds itself back up and around a driving piano beat and discordant saxophone; increasingly random bits of noise splicing in here and there, but eventually coming to rest right where they should; a major-key payoff musically and emotionally.

Things get less and less coherent as Barnes builds on this deconstruction of a pop song through "Wintered Debts" and the aforementioned "Exorcismic Breeding Knife," to the point where Barnes has squandered any goodwill and murdered the record's momentum by the time "Authentic Pyrrhic Remission" rolls around. It's a shame, because if any song could point to what Barnes can accomplish as an avant-garde musician, it's this one. The first half of the song is an old-school of Montreal classic in its own right, all sticky-sweet melodies and swinging hooks, yet when the expected shift comes to a blistering array of electronics and a downtempo move to horror-film strings, it flows logically rather than bashing the listener over the head with dissonance. The way Barnes slowly tones down the fuzz, segueing into the lovely wisp of a piano ballad that closes out the last two minutes, is a striking example of restraint from a man not usually blessed with that particular faculty. This is minimalism with a purpose, one that enhances the song and, with its gradual descent, provides a sort of comedown from the rest of the album as well. "Our illumination is complete," Barnes sings at the close, and it's an overdramatic statement for a typically overdramatic guy, but it's also one with a bit of hope for the future. Paralytic Stalks is most assuredly not the type of record that is going to get of Montreal a mainstream breakthrough a la The Sunlandic Twins, but for those of us who have been frustrated with his inconsistency and general unwillingness to stay in any one place, it just might be the twinkling of a light at the end of the tunnel.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I don't know what everyone is talking about. I have no words to describe this album!! 23 Mar. 2012
By LonghornLady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
MY GOD!!! This album is just SOOO real. Too real for some of you apparently. Like someone else previously said, Georgie Fruit has left the stage. I feel like the emotionality/angst that Kevin projected into that character have been brought back to their rightful home: his own head, body, and experience. I love every song on this album. For me personally, it's like a reflection of my life, and dare I go so far as to say, our generation as a whole. He just captures it. He gets it. It's like Skeletal Lamping has grown. Not grown up, but grown. I could go on and on, but the fact is this is the best album of 2012 so far. Other than skeletal Lamping, it's one of my most favorite of Montreal albums. I like the psychedelic spree stuff too, don't get me wrong, but this is just such a well executed, artistic expression of what our generation is going through and what we've came from I don't know how you cannot like it unless you're just not in touch (or comfortable) with yourself. I love that he had the gaul to make this. I've been waiting on something just like this, and didn't even know it. It' fun, it's beautiful, it's angry,it's poppy, it's jazzy, and i love it! Get it! Listen to it, and try to understand what he was attempting to convey. Don't put your expectations before the simple act of just listening to receive what he's trying to give you. Do it! Damn, album just ended and yes, I got a little sad about it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If you want another Hissing Fauna... just buy another copy!! 28 Feb. 2012
By Justin Pruitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album continues to display Of Montreals thriving dynamism and Kevin Barnes expected quirkiness. After reading a few reviews I wasn't expecting to really enjoy this as much as I did, but I feel constantly compelled to play it, and am truly loving it even more than I did albums like Hissing Fauna and Satanic Panic... this is a great album full of dark corners, sharp turns and blissful freakiness. Don't miss it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Amazing album well worth the work 22 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Of Montreal since The Sunlandic Twins and this is, in my opinion, Kevin Barnes' best work. I realize many people have many complaints about this album, from the often over-wrought lyrics to the dense, sometimes schizophrenic musical experimentation but, Exorcismic Breeding Knife aside, the music felt like a fresh new direction for him and a welcome divert off of the well-worn trail of catchy pop music that Of Montreal had made for many years but without completely abandoning the hooks and driving beats that have always made Of Montreal one of the best bands out there.

Sonically, this album feels like they are taking an evolutionary leap forward. It is not to everyone's tastes but it is a leap forward into new territory for sure. Lyrically, some of these songs are clearly Barnes' best writing ever. Spiteful Intervention, Dour Percentage and Malefic Dowry keep him well grounded in the past pain of relationships gone astray while Ye, Renew the Plaintiff and Wintered Debts show him ready to move past these. The catharsis evident as he howls "I can't deal with mourning at the carcass of my failures any longer" in that last song feel like they apply to a lot more in his life than his past loves. This is all capped off with the joy of new love evident in Authentic Pyrrhic Remission leave the listener feeling hopeful and exuberant before dropping off into an unsettling musical landscape that had me recalling the impersonal judge of humanity's perspective in Gelid Ascent, the first track.

This is a masterpiece of an album, a true classic album, meant to be listened to in order, front to back. It will push your boundaries and you may well be unsettled by some of it but it is well worth the effort to enter into Barnes' world.
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