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Paralytic Stalks (LP+MP3)

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Vinyl, February 7, 2012
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$19.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com in easy-to-open packaging. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

The 2012 full-length from of Montreal, Paralytic Stalks sees Kevin Barnes writing with a lyrical and musical direction that is infinitely more personal than anything he has written since 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? 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. Available on 180-gram vinyl, CD and digital.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (February 7, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polyvinyl Records
  • ASIN: B006HH62GQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,057 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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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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.
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