of Montreal
Paralytic Stalks
Feb 7, 2012

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Lyrically, Paralytic Stalks contains confessions of an infinitely more personal nature than anything Kevin Barnes has written since 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Amidst dark ruminations on human existence, revenge, self-hatred, and his relationship with wife Nina, one encounters an emotionally raw Barnes struggling to contain his savage thoughts: "So much violence in my head / How are we still alive?" ("Authentic Pyrrhic Remission").

And though it's easy to become totally immersed within the captivating power of such revelations song after song, focusing only on the lyrics would prevent you from fully comprehending the true depth of Barnes's work.

Because in a different, yet equally enthralling manner, Paralytic Stalks's musical dimension proves itself similarly worthy of preoccupation.

For on a sonic level, the album -- recorded at Barnes's home studio in Athens, GA and mixed at Chase Park Transduction with the assistance of engineer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Toro y Moi) -- is a stimulating array of densely packed ideas presented with stunning agility.

Never before has an of Montreal record moved so fluidly from one song to the next -- each track feeding off the last in what seems a singular album-long movement that never allows you to rip your ears away.

As a result, Paralytic Stalks at times resembles modern classical with its intricate compositions, while at others echoes of neo-prog, pseudo-country, and 60s pop can be heard.

Examples of these new elements abound throughout the record, notably on "Wintered Debts," which witnesses its hushed vocal and acoustic guitar intro giving way to a country shuffle replete with pedal steel guitar, as well as the flute-driven, ELO-inspired single "Dour Percentage."

Conceived on the fringe of a contemporary pop music landscape that seldom encourages listeners to dig beyond the surface level to receive satisfaction, Paralytic Stalks is the rare album with the audacity to DEMAND such a response.


  • 1
    Gelid Ascent (4:09)
  • 2
    Spiteful Intervention (3:38)
  • 3
    Dour Percentage (4:35)
  • 4
    We Will Commit Wolf Murder (5:30)
  • 5
    Malefic Dowery (2:37)
  • 6
    Ye, Renew the Plaintiff (8:47)
  • 7
    Wintered Debts (7:37)
  • 8
    Exorcismic Breeding Knife (7:40)
  • 9
    Authentic Pyrrhic Remission (13:16)


Give the man a cake, he's a genius.


It's an impressive one, jumping from unplugged confessional to atonal weirdness and then back to sunny '60s-style psych-pop, all while still taking aim at fake idols.


Its closest cousin is David Bowie’s Low, which is a great thing.

Consequence of Sound

Spiraling from emotive, dark instrumental passages to burlesque, circus-like funk, you'll find yourself completely under the band's spell.

Pretty Much Amazing

I'm Blown Away...The magic of of Montreal at their best is back on 'Wintered Debts': harmonies, orchestra level compositions, Barnes being emotional rather than glamorous, and a song that feels like art...not a sexually driven rave.

We Listen For You

...A sonic smorgasbord, with the track morphing from a light, airy acoustic number to an explosion of giant-sized orchestral pop in the span of just seven minutes.

Consequence of Sound

A perfect centerpiece for your winter soundtrack.

Nylon (For Guys)

Blindingly brilliant.

Time Out

A sonic masterpiece. ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Creative Loafing



Utterly lovable...a record made by a genius.




Rolling Stone

Completely captivating.




Interesting and powerful.

The NJ Underground

Compelling...masters of music.

Spectrum Culture

A force to be reckoned with.

Beats Per Minute

One of the best albums in recent years.

San Antonio Current

Best work yet.

Pretty Much Amazing

A tour de force.

Under the Radar


Time Magazine

Listening to this will make any thing else you play sound sadly routine.

NY Daily News

Full of unpredictable life.

NY Times

Remarkable...a ridiculous joy. ☆☆☆☆

Record Collector (UK)

A miracle



Detroit Metro Times

An accessible range of pop sweetness.

A.V. Club

Admirable and successful. The best thing Kevin Barnes and increasingly growing company have produced.

Tiny Mix Tapes
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  • Spiteful Intervention (3:41)
    Jesse Ewles

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