Satanic Panic in the Attic
Let’s get the insider lingo out of the way first: Of Montreal’s Satanic Panic in the Attic contains elements of Elephant 6, psych-pop, post-Beatles, Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, an orchestra of harmonies, a burst of synthetic jangle and the impressive summation of eight years of experience and experimentation.
So, what does that mean? Plain and simple: Of Montreal has produced something remarkably fun. It’s catchy, happy and so full of twists and turns that, upon first listen, it sounds a bit like a new song is starting every 30 seconds, sometimes while the previous song is still running. It’s an album full of blossoming bridges that tumble into a cappella exercises, and guitar riffs that stretch like bubble gum. Even the song titles are scented with Of Montreal’s conceptual cologne — alliterations like “Erroneous Escape into Erik Eckles” and “Chrissie Kiss the Corpse,” and visuals like “Disconnect the Dots” and “Vegan in Furs.”
This is a refresher course on the versatility of simple songs. It’s the Beatles ultra-caffeinated and the Beta Band with pep. It’s pop music with more ideas than it knows what to do with — a bowl of punchy concepts that was shaken, not stirred. It’s a surprise around every corner and beneath every layer of what is sometimes densely-packed aural texture, and other times, stripped-down shtick. But what’s perhaps most surprising is how cogent it is, and how well it flows together as an entire work. What first feels choppy soon becomes whole, and the distractions blend together to form what is, at its essence, a simple little pop album. And it’s fun, fun, fun.