Brian Wilson was once asked if he knew that he’d inspired a new generation of musicians, specifically the Elephant 6 collective. He responded, “Who? I only listen to oldies but goodies.”
For anyone wondering, the Elephant 6 collective is a group of bands that had personal ties to each other and usually collaborated in both recording and touring. Neutral Milk Hotel, Beulah, The Ladybug Transistor, and The Apples in Stereo (amongst others) are all associated with Elephant 6 in varying degrees. Recently the collective decided to call it quits and Of Montreal, another group associated with Elephant 6, signed with Polyvinyl Records to release Satanic Panic in the Attic, the group’s sixth album.
Panic is a dizzying effort, sounds erupt from every angle, disorienting the listener. Of Montreal evokes the same indie-pop stylings of all their earlier work, but now infuses a more world-music influence along with hints of new-wave. Panic, really, isn’t too far from a freeze headache. There are moments where Panic becomes too much—so much saccharine attacking the taste buds that you feel like you need a breather. You rarely get it, however, and the unrelenting energy on Panic, once you become accustomed to it, is part of the record’s charm.
Despite occasional moments of excess, Satanic Panic in the Attic is a wonderful mushroom-trip of a record. While trippy indie-pop isn’t anything new right now, Panic is interesting enough to demand a listen. Mr. Wilson, wake up to the new millennium. Pet Sounds may be the best, but somewhere a high-school student might listen to Satanic Panic in the Attic and discover the timelessness of classic pop for the first time. If it happens to lead them back towards the “oldies but goodies,” more power to ’em.