of Montreal
Cherry Peel
Jul 15, 1997

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Released by: Bar/None

Pre-Polyvinyl of Montreal album.

Hailing from the '90s-resurgent Athens, Georgia scene, unofficial homebase to the Elephant 6 collective, of Montreal is perhaps the least publicized band in the Elephant 6 stable but not because they make the least-worthy music.

To the contrary, Cherry Peel is one of the most unabashedly pretty releases from that group, and, in fact, stands apart from most everything in the pop scene due to its simple, unassuming innocence.

The vocals of songwriter Kevin Barnes are achingly heartfelt and puppyish, and his songs seem to spring directly out of childhood, or at least seem touched by a childlike yearning, so much so that you can't help feeling all fuzzy inside and perhaps desirous of hugging someone, maybe your mom, after hearing them.

And the songs are uniformly expert: "In Dreams I Dance With You" comes across like a cupid-struck Pinocchio's sweet longing; "Montreal" is a wasteland ballad worthy of Neil Young; and "Don't Ask Me To Explain" will make your heart palpatate and bubble up into your throat it is so unpretentiously euponic. The closest cousin to of Montreal is probably The Apples In Stereo, and like that band, the influence of The Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney, and the Beach Boys is pervasive, and other Sixties music such as Brill Building pop and Lovin' Spoonful ("Everything Dissappears When You Come Around") and a bit of psychedelia, as well as a pinch of new wave occasionally reaches the surface of the songs.

But of Montreal touches on so many other sources than those, such as circus music and, on "I Can't Stop Your Memory," even a bit of jazz, and the entire album has the sentiment and conviction of early twentieth-century, old timey and Tin Pan Alley tunes.

This record is part of Polyvinyl's Vinyl BINge -- our specially curated mini-store of interesting / hard-to-find vinyl that we love from other labels. View the complete collection here.

The gorgeous lushness of Cherry Peel conceals the bedroom-bred genesis of the entire undertaking. And though it would be easy to dismiss the whole album as so much cuteness, of Montreal never hint at irony. The band is not mocking pop, it loves the form and the chance to express that joy; and that joy is on full display on Cherry Peel like no band since the early Beatles.

— Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide (4 Stars)


  • 1
    Everything Disappears When You Come Around (2:33)
  • 2
    Baby (2:31)
  • 3
    I Can't Stop Your Memory (3:25)
  • 4
    When You're Loved Like You Are (2:33)
  • 5
    Don't Ask Me to Explain (2:46)
  • 6
    In Dreams I Dance With You (2:05)
  • 7
    Sleeping in the Beetle Bug (2:18)
  • 8
    Tim I Wish You Were Born a Girl (1:46)
  • 9
    Montreal (2:30)
  • 10
    This Feeling (Dereks Theme) (2:42)
  • 11
    I Was Watching Your Eyes (1:51)
  • 12
    Springtime Is the Season (2:13)
  • 13
    At Night Trees Aren't Sleeping (1:49)
  • 14
    You've Got a Gift (4:50)

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