While their bands were touring together in the fall of 2014, Pillar Point's man behind the curtain, Scott Reitherman, eagerly accepted an offer to work at some point in the future with Of Montreal flair-master Kevin Barnes. The resulting Marble Mouth is a sophomore release that feels like a big premiere. In addition to producing the album (a first for Barnes outside of his own music), Barnes plays bass on over half of the tunes and, along with guest drummers Cameron Gardner (Washed Out) and Philip Mayer (Kishi Bashi), dials up the groove on the former Throw Me the Statue leader's well-established catchy songcraft. The ensuing infectious electro-pop evokes the dark and dancy post-punk of early Depeche Mode and New Order much more so than either musician's other projects, with opener "Part Time Love" even recalling Kraftwerk via processed, robotic vocals and mechanical rhythmicity. Similarly, the decidedly retro, clubby "Gloomsday" features monotonic vocals that coolly demand "Turn up the speakers, forget the rain/Strike a pose that makes your body unchain." In contrast, R&B intonation visits the glittery "Underground" and the polyrhythmic house outing "Dove," while the synth pop delight "Strange Brush" ("Strange brush paints me in ways that feel strange") sounds like it could be straight from the U.K. charts of 1983. In fact, those with an affection for Joy Division et al. who won't mind a certain amount of maturation and fleshing out of the era's sound should find the whole of Marble Mouth markedly gratifying -- this one's 4U.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson