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Aldhils Arboretum

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 24, 2002
$47.94 $0.24

Editorial Reviews

Of Montreal return to their very beginnings on their oddly named fifth album, Aldhils Arboretum, abandoning all pretensions of constructing another Byzantine concept album as they did on their past three outings. As a result the quintet have made a stronger, more appealing record by simplifying their aesthetic--sounding much like they did on their 1997 debut, Cherry Peel--and creating 14 discrete, unrelated tableaus about some of the idiosyncratic characters from their native Athens, Georgia. Borrowing freely from the band's own autobiography, spiritual leader and main songwriter Kevin Barnes constructs a skewed pastoral scene in "Isn't It Nice" (about an actual exodus the band made to Clarke Country, Georgia, where four of the five members set up housekeeping in a community peopled with crotchety old women, inebriated neighbors, and suicidal deer), proving he can conjure rural characters just as compelling as the urban warriors Lou Reed described in "Walk on the Wild Side." Barnes blithely pens a story of a woman's love for her dog on "Natalie and Effie in the Park," only to turn around and write a paean to sleep, "An Ode to the Nocturnal Muse," in which he professes love for his bed, his pillow, and the dream state. However, snuggled underneath those cozy covers is a darker reality that slithers into your consciousness on the dark wings of an anxious organ fill, letting you know that the song--and the entire album, for that matter--is more Southern gothic than Southern comfort. --Jaan Uhelszki

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.

Song Title Time Price
  1. doing nothing 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. old people in the cememtery 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. isnt it nice? 2:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. jennifer louise 2:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. the blank husband epidemic 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. pancakes for one 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. we are destroying the song 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. an ode to the nocturnal muse 3:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. predictably sulking sara 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. natalie and effie in the park 2:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. a question for emily foreman 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. kissing in the grass 3:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. kid without claws 3:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. death dance of omipapas and sons for you 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 24, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kindercore Records
  • ASIN: B00006IJ2Y
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,889 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sheldon Rowan on October 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If Of Montreal's The Gay Parade was their Pet Sounds, Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies their Smile, and Then Who will Protect our Children their Smiley Smile, where does that leave Aldhils Arboretum? Why it's Wild Honey, of course. This isn't meant to slight either album, as both have their distinct qualities, but for Of Montreal and The Beach Boys it represents a change in musical direction to looking backwards and not forwards. Aldhils Arboretum doesn't have the same high concept as Coquelicot or the coherence of The Gay Parade, but this probably makes it a more likable album for the newly initiated. If you're listening to the group for the first time, this should be your album. It's really the Of Montreal sampler. You can hear bits of Cherry Peel (Jennifer Louise), The Bedside Drama (Predictably Sulking Sara), The Gay Parade (Natalie and Effie in the Park), Coquelicot (the most challenging song on the CD, Kid Without Claws), and even Then Who Will Protect Our Children? (the beautiful An Ode to the Nocturnal Muse which is sung in Japanese (Neru No Daisuki) on the aforementioned CD).
There aren't too many clunker songs on this CD, which makes it very listenable from beginning to end. Even the lower quality songs like Isn't it Nice? and A Question for Emily Foreman have charm. What holds me back from giving this album the 5 star rating and my highest recommendation is the lack of some truly brilliant songs. Doing Nothing could be a pop hit if Of Montreal ever wanted that kind of thing, and Kid Without Claws brings me back for repeated listens. They just don't set off bells in my head like some of their better songs from earlier CDs.
That said, Aldhils Arboretum is worth buying for existing fans and those drawn by their curiosity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jacktheidiotdunce on May 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Aldhils Arboretum was my first Of Montreal CD. It is a very interesting CD and it seems like a good place for new-comers. They'll probably appreicate it more than hearing all the without hearing the supposedly awesome original neat concept albums like "Gay Parade"(which I'm dying to hear). It seems like old fans were kind of bored with this one for that reason. This seems just like a weird pop album without a concept like the others.

Songs like the humorus "Blank Husband", "Isn't it Nice?", "Emily" and most of the songs are off-beat pop songs, some are enhanced with horns and cello. All in all, Kevin and Of Montreal rock too. Lots of catchy songs. Definitely worth the ten bucks it is here. Oh yeah, neat artwork too, not too much but it look looks great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Eniz on October 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Upon its release last year, Of Montreal's previous album, "Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies", took its place among my over-1,400 cd's as the Absolute Favorite in my collection. I wondered how they could ever follow something so huge, so colorful and ambitious. Like the Beatles moving backward from "Sgt. Pepper" to "Revolver", they followed it up by tightening the structures, trimming some whimsy, and turning the guitars way, way up. Horns, strings, and pianos are still part of the sonic arsenal, but are used more sparingly, moving their sound away from the psychedelic vaudeville of past records and into a more electrified, "live" feel.
The songs here, in perfect Kevin Barnes style, are still as sweet, colorful, and twisty as licorice whips. But where their last few albums utilized crates of Crayola color, making each song fan out like fractal "oil puddles in taffeta patterns" (to steal a line from Joni Mitchell), the songs on this record are leaner, colored with fewer crayons, pressing harder. This is an aggressively guitar-and-buzzing-organ oriented record, and easily their most "rock". The conceptual ideas of the last few records have also been shed, giving the record a somewhat haphazard, random feel, lacking the strong collective identities of "The Gay Parade" or "Coquelicot." That said, the absence of an overarching story brings the individual songs more into focus, and these are some of the greatest songs they've come up with yet.
I was a bit taken aback by some of the lyrics on this record, particularly "Old People in the Cemetary." It's a good song, but an unusually mean-spirited and condescending missive from a normally good-natured and open-hearted songwriter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Jaycox on October 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
First of all, download track one (Doing Nothing). If you like that song, buy this album as the rest will certainly appeal to you. Full of storytelling gems, this album reminds me of so many moments in my life. "Old People in the Cemetery" just offers such beautiful imagery. The catchiness of "Jennifer Louise" will remind you of a forgotten cousin. "Pancakes For One" is the perfect song for a breakup, while "Kissing in the Grass", with its haunting clarinet, makes you wish you had a lover again.
An album that reminds me of The Apples In Stereo and of the "Magical Mystery Tour" couldn't be bad, and it isn't.
Although a friend of mine disparaged this as a Beatles ripoff, 60s pop influences don't make it that. Instead it is an intelligent album that is definitely one of the top 10 of the year.
Give "Aldhils Arboretum" and Of Montreal a chance.
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