of Montreal
Horse & Elephant Eatery (No Elephants Allowed) Singles & Songles Album
May 25, 2004

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Released by: Bar/None

Pre-Polyvinyl of Montreal album.

Where previous of Montreal records evoked children's picture books in their grand narrative scope, off-the-wall characters, and candy-colored hues, Horse & Elephant Eatery (No Elephants Allowed) — a compilation of "singles and songles" (i.e., material previously released in a variety of non-album formats) — is more akin to a schoolboy's collage assembled from cut-out photos, construction paper, and paste, a composite of random ideas and far-flung images that together form a charmingly chaotic whole.

While the disc of course lacks the thematic unity common to the group's previous conceptual efforts, the songs nevertheless hang together on the strength of their shared warmth and effervescence — perhaps no other contemporary group makes pop music so utterly guileless and unashamedly rapturous, articulating an innocence remarkably free of irony and calculation.

Much of Horse & Elephant Eatery recalls the carnival-esque character studies of its brilliant predecessor The Gay Parade — repaying his obvious debt to Ray Davies with a fine cover of the Kinks' "The World Keeps Going 'Round," of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes strikes a perfect balance between fairy-tale whimsy and slice-of-life reality on moments like "The Problem With April," "Nicki Lighthouse," and "Ira's Brief Life As a Spider," creating a kaleidoscopic fantasy world even as his songs capture moments of heartbreakingly human poignance.

Silly, sappy, and sentimental, to be sure, Horse & Elephant Eatery is just as often sublime.

— Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide (4 Stars)

Songs

  • 1
    A Celebration of H. Hare (from the Bees Knees 7")
  • 2
    Joseph and Alexander (from the Japanese version of Cherry Peel)
  • 3
    The Problem With April (from the Japanese version of Gay Parade)
  • 4
    Nicki Lighthouse (from the 100 Guitar Mania 7")
  • 5
    Was Your Face a Head in the Pillow Case
  • 6
    Julie the Mouse (from the Japanese version of Petite Tragedy)
  • 7
    In the Army Kid (from the Japanese version of Petite Tragedy)
  • 8
    Buried With Me
  • 9
    Spoonful of Sugar
  • 10
    Tras Brief Life as a Spider
  • 11
    The World Keeps Going Round
  • 12
    Scenes from My Funeral (from the 100 Guitar Mania 7")
  • 13
    True Friends Don't Want to Do Things Like That (from the Gay Parade 7")
  • 14
    The You I Created

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