Innocence Reaches begins with a query. "How do you identify?" coos a robotic voice over a strikingly modern mix of bright synthpop and surging rave. The question too feels very of its time—as outdated ideas about gender and attraction are being overturned—but it's also a fair ask whenever of Montreal debuts an album.
The project's 14th LP follows two full decades of mercurial creative mania: swallowing up ‘60s psych-pop, Prince-ly funk, and glammy prog in turn; morphing freely between full-band affair and cloistered confessional booth; comprising lyrics both painfully personal and absurdly fantastical; and recently drawing site-specific inspiration from culture capitals like San Francisco or New York City. The thread that runs through it all is Athens, GA's Kevin Barnes, and Innocence Reaches finds him at his most light-hearted in years, working a Parisian stint, Top 40 sounds, and his newfound single status into the kaleidoscopic swirl. Even as he continues to sift the sonic and emotional detritus of his past, Barnes sums up his current mood in the opener's title: "let's relate."