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Of Montreal | Aldhils Arboretum (Track and Field)
This is Of Montreal's (of Elephant Six fame) first UK release, and, for the benefit of the inquisitive amongst us, it turns out that an arboretum is a botanical garden specifically devoted to trees. How quaint. This sets a tone, of sorts; this record is the aural equivalent of a leisurely summer stroll through a picturesque, fantastical park where all the colours are peculiarly bright and you're in grave danger, out of the corner of your eye, of spotting a Cheshire cat up a nearby tree. According to singer/songwriter Kevin Barnes, the aim was to make the songs 'more fluid and less jarring' than on some of the band's prior recordings, and they have been greatly successful in this endeavour. Highlights include the blissful opener Doing Nothing, the forthcoming (short and sweet) single Jennifer Louise, and the brilliantly titled The Blank Husband Epidemic. Idiosyncratic and wonderfully eccentric, Of Montreal are pop with an inspired injection of fun.

Allie Roxburgh
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002