is a genre-bending
indie group from Athens, Georgia.note
Formed in 1996 by Kevin Barnes as a solo project
, it began as folksy baroque pop
like most other Elephant 6 projects. Derek Almstead and Bryan Poole (who frequently performs under the stage name The Late B.P. Helium) soon joined; the groups' first three albums featured this lineup, and the style continued until their fifth album, Aldhils Arboretum
. Not only was it their first full-length record to not be a concept album, but it also introduced the dance-friendly style that set them apart from their Elephant 6 peers. This funkier sound kept on evolving on each record, and the group caught the eye of music critics with Sunlandic Twins
, with one song from the album even being altered and used in a commercial for Outback Steakhouse.Their next album marked an even more drastic change from their folk-styled roots. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
was created almost entirely by Kevin Barnes to cope with psychological issues he was experiencing at the time, and featured enough Lyrical Dissonance
to make "Komm Susser Todd"
sound like "Hey Jude"
. It also gave birth to Barnes' alter ego
, a Camp Gay
black Transvestite Glam Rock
star named Georgie Fruit
. The next two albums, Skeletal Lamping
and False Priest
, both were predominantly written from the viewpoint and continued the bass-heavy pop sound of the previous album.
The band exemplifies the following tropes:
- Camp Gay: Kevin Barnes' alter ego Georgie Fruit.
- Camp Straight: Despite his flamboyant dress style at live shows, Barnes is Happily Married to Nina Aimee Grøttland.
- Barnes even remarked in interviews that he wished to be gay out of fascination with LGBT culture, but someday realized that he just wasn't gay at all.
- Careful With That Axe: Shows up in "Faberge Falls For Shuggie".
- Concept Album: Their first four albums, as well as Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
- Epic Rocking: "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" from Hissing Fauna is 12 minutes long, and "No Conclusion" from the companion EP Icons, Abstract Thee comes close to the 10-minute mark.
- Grotesque Cute: The music video for "Wraith Pinned To the Mist (And Other Games)".
- Intercourse with You: Hissing Fauna showed signs of this, before Barnes went all-out on Skeletal Lamping and False Priest.
- Long Title: Examples include "We Were Born the Mutants Again with Leafling", "Inside a Room Full of Treasures, a Black Pygmy Horse's Head Pops Up Like a Periscope", and "Upon Settling on the Frozen Island, Lecithin Presents Claude and Coquelicot With His Animal Creations for Them to Approve or Reject (The Rejected Inventions Walk Towards the Reverse Magnetizer)"
- Lyrical Dissonance: Hissing Fauna features quite upbeat pop songs set to lyrics centered on depression and suicide.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: And how.
- New Sound Album: Two, in fact: Satanic Panic in the Attic introduced their funkier and poppier sound, and Hissing Fauna introduced their trademark Lyrical Dissonance (paired with a much more theatrical stage show).
- Paralytic Stalks is their most experimental album to date.
- Refuge in Audacity: At least one show in the 2010 tour featured Kevin Barnes grinding with a woman in a pig suit and faking an orgasm while a man in a similar pig suit looks on in shock and horror, at which point Barnes declares he needs "sexual healing", tackles him, and then air-humps and teabags him.
- Repurposed Pop Song: See Breakaway Pop Hit.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "The Past is a Grotesque Animal"
- Sesame Street Cred: The group has appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba.
- Title Drop: "Labyrinthian Pomp" features the line "Let's just say / You are not the destroyer".
- The immediately preceding song names their next three major releases, albeit out of order: "Skeletal Lamping / The Controller Sphere / False Priest".
- Transsexual: Barnes claims that his on-stage character Georgie Fruit has had many sex change surgeries in his time.
- Tsundere: The subject of "Our Riotous Defects".
- Unusual Euphemism: "Now that the parachute has opened, well / Don't it make you feel good?"