A bewitching brew of confusion and clarity has always characterized the music of Kevin Barnes, and never more so than in the latest effort from of Montreal, released February 7. “Paralytic Stalks,” the band’s 11th studio album, takes Barnes’s rainbow-striped aural candy to dizzying new heights, with a bold, swaying sound that’s just barely tethered by the bluntness of the lyrics. You’ll catch snatches of Barnes’s influences—psychedelic Sixties pop, slinky ’80s funk a la Prince—amid the layers of falsetto singing and, under it all, a heavy, addictive beat. This album is rich fare, and fortunately, of Montreal knows to serve it in small dishes. (The first five songs of the nine-song album span all of 20 minutes.) The songs are dense but not sloppy, complex but not tangled. The lyrics showcase a range of emotion that toys with the darker, stickier parts of pop’s psyche: “You are what parasites evolved from,” the album damningly kicks off with, after a reverb-heavy first chord that sounds like it was beamed down from space. “Still an unanswered question.” That unanswered question, apparently “What the hell is going on here?”, seems to inspire the remainder of the album, as Barnes streaks into vibrant, almost cacophonous peaks before plummeting again into weird, echoey valleys, from samples of snarled-up jazz flute to clean acoustic guitar. Enter only if you’re willing to let the answer remain unknown: Complicated and forward looking, of Montreal continues to be more interested in the question.