Attention, sexual beings of the future: your anthem as arrived. Of Montreal's fifteenth album, Skeletal Lamping, is a world where sex rules, and love is just a lubricant. This world, pictured on the album cover, is full of naked, uninhibited bodies swimming in a swirling, blooming bowl. The predominant figure points to the teeth-like thorns that surround the bodies, the only threat to their lustful libations. This threat, it becomes clear, is tradition: "Georgie said romantic love is flat/(Georgie said that)/Only for people with no real ambition in their life (no life)" croons Barnes in "For Our Elegant Caste."
Georgie Fruit is taking love, dyeing it purple and adding sparkle. Does it matter that Georgie Fruit, who on stage is a hot mess of drag, latex and Bowie-like make-up, is the pseudonym for OM frontman Kevin Barnes, a white heterosexual family man? Not in the least. This is about blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, people. The wild charade and orgy of sounds, though, is not just about fun- it is the band's way of addressing some of today's serious issues. When not all are free to love, how better to rebel than to let it all hang out (which, by the way, Barnes has been known to do at shows)? The surreal sexual scape of Skeletal Lamping is ultimately an idealist's answer to the crushing conservatism of our time. "We function on the lowest human level/Yet somehow keep living," Barnes laments in "St. Exquisite's Confessions." So what better than suspension of belief? Why not let apples be apples, and let Barnes be Fruit?
Barnes' call for libido liberation is fitting for the sexually ambiguous indie-rockers who make up much of the Of Montreal fan base. These kids are Obama-oogling, Prop. 8-negating, pants-off-dance-off ravers who aren't afraid to pop the pill and shift their shapes (have you seen pictures of Girl Talk's November Terminal 5 concert in NYC?). The question of the Of Montrealers is, and will remain: Why not get down with our bad selves? And I can't think of a good reason why not.