Feb 6 2012

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

29. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?

Kevin Barnes had certainly already made a name for his project Of Montreal with two eccentric, excellent albums Satanic Panic In the Attic and Sundlandic Twins, not to mention a high-energy, over-the-top live show. But it’s the near flawless Hissing Fauna where Barnes reached the apex of his songwriting ability, and gave us an ultra-high-concept album tackling his own personal turmoil with depression, isolation, and sexual frustration.

Of course, even then, saying things like “sexual,” “high-concept,” and Of Montreal in the same sentence was redundant. But if there was any question as to what exactly the Athens-based band was up to, they made that pretty clear with Hissing Fauna. At this point, you either jumped on board to help Barnes wave his freak flag, or you bowed out. But amidst all the layered falsettos, funk-disco hybrid moments, and weird sound effects, Barnes was writing his most introspective material ever. “Gronlandic Edit” talks about isolation in Norway and the quest for religion, while “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse,” probably the theme for the entire album, deals with the autobiographical depression the frontman was going through, sleeping for hours in a friend’s apartment.

But if you’re like me, a person who doesn’t really delve into lyrics until many listens later, you won’t notice all this sadness amongst all the heavy dance jams this album is packed with. Hissing Fauna is loaded with fan favorites, live staples, and instant Of Montreal classics, including the sex-soaked “Fabregie Falls For Shuggie,” which is still probably my favorite Of Montreal song ever. As the years went by, it could be argued Barnes went a little overboard with the whole thing, as he’s in the middle of releasing a litany of convoluted, unfocused albums, but back in 2007, he and his group reached a personal best with Hissing Fauna.

Listen to Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer on Spotify.