THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Raising the bpm and questions of sexual politics
Of Montreal has always been hard to pin down.
Once singer/mastermind Kevin Barnes broke free of the jangly, power-pop that introduced the band to the world, they have bounced all over the musical map. But for their new album “Innocence Reaches” (Polyvinyl), the band has happily settled on the nearest dance floor, using disco, new wave and various styles of EDM to make their prescient points about the ever-changing modern world.
The strongest statement, both musically and lyrically, is the first single “It’s Different for Girls,” where Barnes lists a string of perceptions about girls — some positive, some negative, in comparison to boys — over a new wave beat with synthesizer flourishes that could have come from 1982.
“It’s different for girls,” Barnes sings in one of the most lyrically nuanced dance songs of the year. “From when they are children, they’re depersonalized, aggressively objectified.”
Along with the opener, the lush Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark-styled “Let’s Relate,” “It’s Different for Girls” sets the tone and the pace of the album, which serves as both a dance-inducing good time and a deeper comment on gender roles. No small feat.