Skeletal Lamping


Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 2 out of 33
  1. Some people are going to think this is a masterpiece, the equal of "Hissing Fauna." Others will call it a self indulgent mess that pushes indie-rock somewhere it really wasn't meant to go. Personally, I think both those sound about right.
  2. Skeletal Lamping flicks across channels like a man with an itchy trigger finger who trigger finger is actually itchy, but it excels in making a brilliant kind of sense.
  3. 90
    Switching, flexible, rug burn reverberation. Of Montreal’s pretentious compound syllables titillate mind and body, catcalling strangers walking down the street you imagine naked, whose vocabulary is as ripped as the holes in their shirts.
  4. 90
    Skeletal Lamping is a new high for this long-running yet just-peaking band.
  5. Amid its admirably complex compositional compressions, Skeletal Lamping feels like a triple-LP sprawler, despite clocking in at less than an hour. For those who have the patience to hang with Barnes and his freak-outs, it could be a masterpiece.
  6. Barnes isn't so much indulgent as he is overly ambitious and seemingly out of his mind, making Skeletal Lamping as wonderfully brilliant as it is weird.
  7. "Epic” is the only way to describe the balance of Skeletal Lamping--Barnes isn’t afraid to throw everything on tape.
  8. Barnes is literally all over the place and his cryptic storytelling makes for an eccentric album. And although each song may shift styles five or six times, as a whole, it’s a tightly constructed and smartly shaped listen.
  9. Taken in isolation, the individual movements in these songs and the different voices of the narrators are never less than engaging.
  10. It is exactly the record you’d expect Kevin Barnes to make right now: briefly, the concept record as heart failure. Seriously. Never before has engaging in serious cardiomyopathic trade been this remote, or satisfying.
  11. There is much to enjoy on this consistently rewarding album; brazen, bonkers and really quite brilliant.
  12. Uncut
    Skeletal Lamping follows the latter path, fleshing out the polymorphous persona of Georgie Fruit via brilliantly executed attention-deficit funk. [Dec 2008, p.105]
  13. Alternative Press
    Skeletal Laming furthers the notion that Kevin Barnes is, in fact, the Prince of our generation. [Dec 2008, p.138]
  14. 80
    The album’s sound is a more intricate remix of Fauna’s futurama, another hyperbaric disco chamber filled with technoodling beats backing pop operettas, while the lyrics sometimes do that magnum opus one better.
  15. Under The Radar
    There's so much hot action on Skeletal Lamping that it's overwhelming at times. But, in the harsh light of the morning after, you'll be glad you took it hime. [Fall 2008, p.77]
  16. Barnes plays virtually every instrument. It's impossible not to be impressed by such virtuosic preening. Ultimately, though, only one artist in the world can get away with this shtick for an entire hour-long album.
  17. Most songs start with a barrage of mini movements, find aural stasis, then give in to stylistic onslaught. It's physically tiring at times, but immaculately arranged. That's less true of Barnes' lyrics. While his words are lysergically colorful and often poetic, any greater meaning is dissolved in an acid bath of too much information.
  18. Lamping has some catchy songs and some interesting lyrics, but feels too inconsequential, too easily sloughed off.
  19. A soulful romp through psychedelic melodies and sprawling noise-scapes, Skeletal is also a whimsical, Girl Talk-style pastiche, with 15 tracks that consist of a multitude of song fragments.
  20. There are 1,000 ideas in 15 songs, and all of them are appealing. But most get short shrift in this manic adventure that bogs down too many songs with exhaustive tonal changes and an overreliance on Barnes’ layered falsetto vocals.
  21. This feast isn’t without a good deal of filler.
  22. Barnes pushes their ninth album to sometimes unlistenable extremes and although it has its moments--'Touched Something's Hollow' is a beauty--the pleasures to be gained from this sexual experiment are few.
  23. Following a dramatic statement of purpose like Hissing Fauna, it shouldn’t be too surprising that listening to Skeletal Lamping is a bit of a let-down, but, when removed of comparisons and expectations, it’s still a nonsensical dancefloor freakfest that only Kevin Barnes could pull off--and, really, what more could you ask of Kevin Barnes?
  24. Barnes and company's ninth studio album isn't as catchy or cohesive as the past few, hitting upon sublime moments--like when he quietly asks "Why I am so damaged?"--that are frustratingly few and far between.
  25. Skeletal Lamping is by no means a bad album; rather, after such an organic and fully realized career milestone as Hissing Fauna, the difficulty of finding a new direction is a creatively arduous one, and of Montreal’s experimentation here is notable overall.
  26. Skeletal Lamping is the brain dump of a troubled psyche, and you shouldn’t feel too bad if you ultimately don’t get it. I don’t think you’re supposed to.
  27. Picking through the skewed rhythms and electronic tics takes patience, but it is occasionally rewarded with poppy pleasures.
  28. Given that the record is so nominally personal and probing, it’s telling that there is not one moment of transcendence, or relief, or acceptance, or melody, or substance.
  29. Ultimately Skeletal Lamping registers as a misstep, but not without loads of silver lining.
  30. This is a love-it-or-lump-it album, a polarizing effort that--depending on personal preference--is either irresistibly attractive or laughably, overzealously pretentious.
  31. Q Magazine
    "Lamping" is a hunting term for flooding a forest with light then opening fire on the panicking prey, and the ninth album by these Athens, Georgia oddballs is similarly scattershot. [Dec 2008, p.132]
  32. Under The Radar
    The whole thing almost makes you wonder if Kevin Barnes isn't fucking around just to see what he can get away with, as he spends the better part of the record playing against his own strengths and nearly everything the listener has come to expect. [Fall 2008, p.77]
  33. Skeletal Lamping lacks a satisfactory, uh, idea. None are progressed, thoroughly provoked, just simply thrown out the speakers in hopes that we are transfixed by its oh-so literal translation of Barnes’ Georgie Fruit act.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Nov 30, 2010
    The best of Montreal album to date, which is saying a lot. Completely original and innovative album, unlike anything you've heard before.The best of Montreal album to date, which is saying a lot. Completely original and innovative album, unlike anything you've heard before. Kevin Barnes isn't just changing his own style, he's completely changing indie music as we know it. Full Review »
  2. Oct 11, 2014
    Though excessive in terms of lyrics themes (sex and drugs), the tremendous imagination, twistes, arrangements and originality of MontrealThough excessive in terms of lyrics themes (sex and drugs), the tremendous imagination, twistes, arrangements and originality of Montreal portrays from the first second to the last one, make Skeletal Lamping a delicious masterpiece that gets you hooked from the beginning... and forever. Full Review »
  3. Jan 13, 2013
    Good album. But nothing great in comparison. Kevin Barnes seems to be all over the place and isn't able to sit down and really build off ofGood album. But nothing great in comparison. Kevin Barnes seems to be all over the place and isn't able to sit down and really build off of any one sound. There are great pieces here and there, but the constant change wears it down. Full Review »