“Nothing! We’re doing nothing!,” are the first lyrics and the extremely repetitive chorus on the first song of Aldhils Arboretum, the sixth album by ultra-happy indeed-poppers Of Montreal. The mantra, it seems, is pretty appropriate.
Of Montreal, part of the second wave of the Elephant 6 collective, have a bright and shiny sound. The songs are laden with lots of treble and singer Kevin Barnes provides equally happy-go-lucky tenor vocals.
The songs on the album veer towards the light-hearted and silly. “Isn’t it Nice?” is basically a song about having weird hick neighbors. “The Blank Husband,” is about “Auntie Eleanor’s…very unhappy husband.” “Pancakes for One,” tackles the dillema of a sad lonely morning, “because eating breakfast with you was such fun!”
Despite the deliberate corniness, Aldhills Arboretum is a solid album. There really isn’t a poorly done track on the disk. All the songs are produced well, arranged in a very beatlesque manor and strongly reminiscent of better-known indie-pop, like Apples in Stereo, as well as the classic Byrds.
Probably what makes the Of Montreal sound work is the unpretentiousness of the band. The songs are ridiculous and downright whimsical, they know that and they are proud of that.
Sure, they’re not a deep or extremely meaningful band, but it’s refreshing to listen to a group that doesn’t fancy themselves the newest prolific artists on the recently crashing wave of indie-pop.