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of montreal
Of Montreal
Horse and Elephant Eatery (No Elephants Allowed)
The Singles and Songles Album



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Ever wonder what you'd see if your speakers could show images of whatever was being played through them? For example, if you were spinning Shellac's Terraform, your speakers would project an image of Steve Albini's enormous ego smack dab in the middle of a big steaming pile of crap. An easy premise to grab, no?

But let's just say that you happened to be playing the Singles & Songles Album. Rather than a steaming pile of dung, you'd see a mile-long parade of circus animals, an exploding pineapple, an orange and green UFO, Beach Boy Brian Wilson and 3,000 screaming Japanese girls. Even though all those images seem completely random and detached, a single listen to this impressive collection of rarities and B-Sides will pull them together in a single brightly-hued musical vision. That vision belonging to Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal's leader and chief songwriter.

Just to set the record straight, this is not a new Of Montreal record (though one is due out later this year). It is a compilation of hard-to-find and previously unreleased tracks, including Japanese-only bonus tracks, cover tunes and nearly-impossible-to-find / long-out-of-print 7" singles and compilation appearances. With all this sticky-sweet pop goodness on a single disc, you've got more sugar than a jumbo-sized bag of cotton candy. Witness the lilting pop hooks and wacky instrumentation of "A Celebration of H. Hare" to the reverb soaked guitars and short-but-sweet melody of "Was Your Face A Head in the Pillow Case?" -- and I cannot fail to mention the band's spirited Vaudevillian romp through the Gants' "Spoonful of Sugar", which somehow manages to be even more bubbly and effervescent than the original.

If you consider the Minders' Cul De Sacs & Dead Ends to be an essential album, chances are you'll feel the same way about Singles and Songles. Both are "odds and sods" compilations which stand on their own as complete works rather than seeming like contractual obligation fulfillers or lame ass re-hash albums. And besides, Singles and Songles will look much cooler than a Pavement album when played through those new "visual" speakers.

-- Jason Jackowiak

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