"It's just men dressing in a really outrageous way and trying to upstage everyone else to be the most wild and psychotic. It's just so much fun and you can experiment with your hair and clothing - just everything," muses of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.

Gender identity is a hot topic in and amongst our 24-hour news cycles - a mainstay in this world of non-stop internet blogging, profiling and judging. Kevin's provocative message is the antithesis to all this media gloop - why don't we all cut loose and in Kevin's words, "just have fun". That heavy party vibe is perfectly evoked in of Montreal's new album Innocence Reaches and its consequent fabulously brazen Manhattan club kid fiesta music videos that have coincided with its release. Think Macaulay Culkin in 2003 cult classic Party Monster and you'd be on the right sort of lines.

Hailing from the small town of Athens, Georgia amongst the esteemed Elephant 6 class of the late '90s (Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples in Stereo), of Montreal have since undertaken a prolific spree of self-confessional, experimental garage rock. The town's influence on the band's output has been great. Athens has a paradoxical creative aura in contrast with its location in the characteristically conservative southern states, "It's a college town. The south in general isn't much of a cultural Mecca but the fact that it's affordable and you get these really big houses with everyone living together - it creates this communal spirit. People pitching in together and having potluck dinners and pushing and inspiring each other."

Bands from the Elephant 6 label largely stayed within the confines of the retro sounds that made them indie rock stalwarts but Kevin's productive creativity liberated the of Montreal sound, "I got bored with the '60s, '70s retro thing. To be honest it's my favourite music - David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones - those are the bands I've listened to most in my life. Recently, I started getting into more contemporary production. A lot of electronic and dance music and being inspired by what people are making at this moment and wanting to create something in that vein."

This new musical philosophy has created a wildly forward thinking album, influenced by the progressive minds of Jean Genet and Jean Cocteau. The personal and revelatory nature of albums gone by remains (especially on the smutty 'Trashed Exes') but Kevin seems more at ease with tackling wider issues without compromising on any esoteric level. A song like 'It's Sifferent for Girls' is contemporary pop in sound but the lyrics contain an unparalleled intelligence and nuance that you'll wonder how it could all be fit into the digestible form of a 4-minute pop song - just as the iconic David Bowie managed some 40 years ago.

Half of the album was worked on in Paris, where Kevin attempted to isolate himself in order to reach peak creativity, "I may be in some funny headspace but I'm not thinking about presentation or framing it for anybody [when making a record]. I'm just in the moment and making it organically. Then when it's done I'll think about how I want to frame it and embellish it and then it becomes a different thing. I try to block out the outside world. I don't want to think about how anyone in the outside world will listen to it, so I try to create within a protective wall. It feels like a more pure experience for me if I'm not worried about the perceptions of the outside world."

It begs the question whether you could possibly taint of Montreal with the 'self-indulgent' brush that can often frighten away any potential listener. "I never really understood anyone using the term self-indulgent in a negative way," Kevin states, "Of course it's self-indulgent. You're not building a bridge for other people to drive over but your music can inevitably affect other peoples' lives. They connect with what you're saying. If they like your voice or your method then they'll connect with it anyway. Some songs will connect with people more than other songs and some songs may not connect with anybody but yourself, but does it make it a cheaper experience? No, the fact that someone likes it or dislikes it is irrelevant. When people talk about doing it for the fans they ignore the idea of being a fan as a fleeting thing. Someone might be a fan of only one song or one album so how can you concentrate on something as mercurial and nebulous as pleasing the fans. A long time ago I decided I was going to make what I wanted to make and hope that if I did it in that pure way then people would connect with it."

Now with the new album released, of Montreal fans' attention will inevitably turn towards their upcoming monolithic tour and what to possibly expect from one of the more surprising bands on the gig circuit, "It's going to be very theatrical. I'm going to have 4 or 5 costume changes during the show. We're going to have it all scripted, all the songs feed together. Doing the verse and chorus of one song and then jumping into the verse of another song and then jumping into the bridge of another song. It'll be a collage style. Visually there will be a lot of performance artists on stage that I'm going to interact with, lots of projections. We're bringing our own lighting, which is new, we've never done that before. It's going to be very extreme and hopefully very transportive, psychedelic, very colourful and very fun."

Resisting the charms of Kevin and Co. has always been an exercise in futility, but on their newest album (their 14th LP in 18 years), of Montreal have cut loose their potentially angst-ridden ways and produced an absolute pleasure ride of a record - their most relevant output to date that will see them finally claim the title of most fabulous band on the planet. "I'm sort of going for that Halloween or new years eve vibe [with the shows], one of those days where everyone just has fun and cuts loose for a couple of days, takes the baggage off their shoulder and becomes a wild creature for the night."