"I don't make the division between physical reality or intellectual reality or fantasy or dream reality," Barnes says. "Just because you held a brick in your hand and threw it through a window, doesn't mean it doesn't have the same value as dreaming you held a brick in your hand and throwing it through the window. Everything I'm writing about, I might not have physically experienced it — but I did experience it."

While the songs on the album are the sole work of Barnes, he says his bandmates have been critical in translating the album's hypersexuality and out-there imagery into a dynamic live act. And thus far, sneak previews of the Skeletal Lamping tour have looked like a three-ring circus on acid. A recent New York show featured a nearly naked Barnes riding a live horse onto the stage at one point and emerging from a coffin slathered in shaving cream at another. Band members were dressed like cowboys, tigers and the mythical creature Pan.

Barnes, Of Montreal and their peers in Athens' famed Elephant 6 Recording Company have always experimented in the hope of stretching the boundaries of contemporary music. For a time Barnes even lived with Jeff Mangum, the singer/songwriter behind Neutral Milk Hotel. But while Mangum was able to craft the creatively brilliant album In the Aeroplane Over The Sea from a series of recurring dreams he had about Anne Frank, when Barnes attempts to channel his own strange inner voice and shed all the trappings of pop music in the process, the result isn't as transcendent.

Of Montreal: They've raided the Village People's costume closet.
Of Montreal: They've raided the Village People's costume closet.


8 p.m. Friday, October 24. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. $17 advance, $20 day of show. 314-726-6161.

"You just create what you feel compelled to create," Barnes says. "It's more fulfilling that way. I've never tried to create for an audience or demographic because that would just be...well...really weird."

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