of Montreal UR FUN Polyvinyl
After 16 records, we’re only now getting a glimpse of the real of Montreal. Much has been made of frontman and founder Kevin Barnes touring his last record, 2018’s unusually forthright White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, without the drag and stage costumes that had become a staple of his shows. This back-to-basics approach continues apace on UR FUN, with Barnes’ blossoming relationship with his girlfriend, songwriter Christina Schneider of Locate S,1, at the heart of the album.
Barnes wrote and recorded UR FUN entirely alone, an impressive feat of isolationism for a man who’s assembled many a loose musical collective around his project over the years. The result is a collection of songs that are musically concise and lyrically complex, with varying degrees of success on both fronts.
Lead single Polyaneurism is an 80s-indebted earworm, and there’s something gently anthemic about the drowsy You’ve Had Me Everywhere. Barnes is at his best when he’s playfully dipping into the peaks and valleys of a deepening romantic relationship, but on UR FUN’s latter half, the mood clouds and the sonic warmth cools a little, particularly on the chugging Don’t Let Me Die In America and the capricious Deliberate Self-Harm Ha Ha. Still, that Barnes is producing work with this many ideas this far into his career is to be applauded.