Montag Going Places

[Carpark; 2007]

Rating: 2/5

Styles: pop, electronic
Others: M83, Au Revoir Simone, Air, YACHT

A rock critic friend of mine, in his mission to prove Chicago is the worst band in the world worth hating, bemoans the group's use of horns as indulgent and showy. My soft spot for "Saturday in the Park" notwithstanding, I'm inclined to think that a similar problem afflicts many of the Peter Cetera-come-latelys of electronic music. In these digital days, though, it’s not the bombast of brass but the laptop arrangements of ticks and blips that have become the lazy songwriter’s indulgence of choice.

Montreal’s Montag (née Antoine Bédard) might not be worth hating if he weren’t so clearly pining for a slot on the next Karate Kid soundtrack. Going Places opens with “I Have Sound,” the sort of faux-anthemic gasconade that the critical community has been eating up since Arcade Fire made it cool again to enjoy crescendos. Even when he’s not duping someone into describing his music as “cinematic,” Montag overreaches. On “Softness, I Forgot Your Name,” a shoe-gazer that an artist with a little more humility would do wonders with, Bédard’s throaty wail wavers so embarrassingly that the song crumbles into self-parody.

Going Places does occasionally exhibit some low-key flights of fancy in between all of the grandiose production, but it’s not enough to strike a balance between Montag’s highfalutin ambitions and his more intimate impulses. A liner note regarding the album’s title track says that it was made from a worldwide open call for collaborators, and that each sound received was used. I wish I could have contributed a minute or two of silence.

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