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Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? by of Montreal

When Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? was released in 2007, it was immediately my favorite album of the year. I was playing it in the car (hijacking my friends' car radio to play "We Were Born The Mutants Again With Leafling"), playing it in the art room giving my friend a headache, stealing my friends' iPods to listen to "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal" one more time during Chinese class, accidentally playing "Gronlandic Edit" for the entire chemistry class (with Barnes singing "Physics makes us all its bitches" over the speakers). Even when my mom tried to ban music in order to punish me for staying out too late, I memorized the lyrics to "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal", singing them to myself constantly (it was this, or singing "Ice Ice Baby" to myself). Trying to write about it now, three years later, I don't even know where to begin.

Though there are no shortages on break up albums, there are few that are quite so personal and emotionally accurate; chronicling Barnes' exile in Norway, his struggles with his wife, chemical imbalances and his transformation into a glam rock alter-ego named Georgie Fruit, Hissing Fauna manages to be completely honest but not once becoming self-pitying or just plain annoying. Instead, Barnes contemplates embracing violence and "slut[ting] away the pain".

Barnes himself describes Hissing Fauna as a concept album (of Montreal seems to have a lot of those), and it definitely almost feels this way. The album opens with "Suffer For Fashion", inviting us into the album with the cry, "Let's all melt down together". In "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse", Barnes describes his struggles with depression as being a chemical imbalance, urging them "Chemicals, don't flatten my mind/Chemicals don't mess me up this time". Barnes also mentions his wife, singing "Nina Twin is trying to help and I/Really hope she gets me straight/Because my own inner cosmology/Has become too dense to navigate". By "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal", Barnes' impending psychological breakdown becomes a 12 minute transformation into his alter ego, Georgie Fruit (who takes over for the second half of the album with his sexual escapades in "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider").

From its first cry to all melt down together, Hissing Fauna is surprisingly personal and compellingly emotional. 

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