Feb 27, 2015 Web Exclusive
Of Montreal doesn't give a shit about first impressions. Each album (out of a pretty dense discography, no less) is not only impossible to nail down and succinctly summarize, but also completely different in focus and sound than its predecessor. Aureate Gloom, Kevin Barnes' thirteenth album with of Montreal, keeps this tradition going strong. In some ways, it's a worthy sequel to 2013's lousy with sylvianbriar: many of the songs feature the stripped back, American-rock-style instrumentation on that album. As a whole, though, Aureate Gloom is just as spastic as one would expect from the notoriously restless Barnes.
Take the final quartet of songs here: the '80s pop-rock of "Apollyon of Blue Room" leads into symphonic sweep on "Estocadas," before Barnes' band plows into noise-punk ("Chthonian Dirge for Uruk the Other") and exploratory guitar odyssey ("Like Ashoka's Inferno of Memory"). Note the track titles—this is classic of Montreal, and while the music may not surprise much anymore, Aureate Gloom is a collection of top-tier songs from what will be remembered as a particularly focused part of Barnes' career.
So how does one really process a new of Montreal album? Well, Aureate Gloom is like pushing lousy with sylvianbriar through a Satanic Panic in the Attic filter. Or it's like Paralytic Stalks with shorter phases and more electric guitars. Really, though, perhaps the key to deep listening with of Montreal is to take each detour, each genre shift and noodly instrumental segment, by its own terms. As a series of these moments, Aureate Gloom is a complex and worthy addition to of Montreal's impactful discography. (www.ofmontreal.net)
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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