'Stalks' has deep roots

By Nabi Dressler
News Editor
It isn’t too often that a band produces an album composed of songs with such lyrical depth as of Montreal’s latest album, Paralytic Stalks.

Just the album cover and the album name hint at what the theme of the album is. Interpret both of these aspects as you will, because this album is a personal one if I’ve ever heard one, and its songs are best understood based on the personal connections made by the listener.
Paralytic Stalks caters itself to each listener in a different way, depending on how the listener interprets the lyrics and what memories the lyrics trigger. This is an album that gives the listener the gift of freedom through deep lyrics that prompt each individual to wander back into his or her past.
The album’s meaningful lyrics that provoke personal experiences make the album a different experience for each unique listener; Paralytic Stalks is art.
I can’t help but gush over an album that contains so many underlying meanings. Paralytic Stalks is consistently thought-inducing and trying to decipher the words in every song is key.  
For example, in the song “Spiteful Intervention,” frontman Kevin Barnes sings, “Lately all I can produce is psychotic vitriol/That really should fill me with guilt/But all I have is asthmatic energy.” These lyrics invite the listeners to decipher their own behaviors and to rethink their relationships with others.
If this album was a person, it’d be that person who conceals what lies within, someone who requires further analyzing in order to see what’s inside.
On of Montreal’s facebook page, Barnes stated, “[Paralytic Stalks] came from a place of great pain and turmoil. If you are a well adjusted/happy person that requires instant gratification and simplicity in the music you listen to, you should not expect to really enjoy this album. It is an album for people who know the sting of alienation, psychosis, terror, anguish… it’s not a feel good album… it is a very raw and unrefined piece of art. I just hope it helps people, like myself, feel less alone in their instability.”
There isn’t anything rarer than a songwriter who appears to genuinely care about the music he or she is writing for masses to hear.
Words aside, the melodies on this album don’t give off a smooth, mellow vibe.
“Wintered Debts” has a fading instrumental ending that would make most cringe. Sure, the scattered sounds can be classified as “noise” on the surface, but the song’s melody just acts as a mask over the lyrics, the more important aspect of the song.
While listening to Paralytic Stalks, I often heard notes that, played together, definitely didn’t make up pretty chords. The sharpness of the random notes on random instruments thrown together contributes to the interpret-this-for-yourself aspect of the album. Such broken, seemingly awful sounds because of too much going on in one song and too many different melodies jumbled together is much like the abstract album artwork.
Many albums are so clear with lyrics and polished in sound that the listener doesn’t need to do much thinking, but Paralytic Stalks is what the listener makes of it.