First you have to get through the packaging. Of Montreal’s follow-up to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? comes in an elaborate, psychedelic, faux-primitive fold-out case decorated with phantasmagoric flowers and lithe, asexual but utterly naked people surrounded by said plant life. Pull the case out of the sleeve, pull the top layer up, revealing the largely nonsensical song titles (“Nonpareil of Favor,” “St. Exquisite’s Confessions,” “Beware Our Nubile Miscreants”), fold down for the credits, fold the rest out to the left and right and there, finally, is the disc itself. (For the full effect, each folded-out section can be unfurled one more time so you have an enormous, Henry Darger-like cardboard tapestry.)
It’s hardly worth it. What you get once the disc is in your player is, as the song titles indicate, largely nonsensical indie-pop/psych-folk—strummy guitars and electronic sound effects, programmed beats, sprawling multi-tracked vocals. Frontman Kevin Barnes displays some omnisexual adventurousness, and a few tracks contain passages of quiet, melancholy beauty (“Death Isn’t a Parallel Move”) or noisy bliss (“Nonpareil of Favor”), and the band gets credit for following a pop breakthrough with something as idiosyncratic as Skeletal Lamping. But all the indulgence and plain silliness ultimately add up to a mess.