of Montreal – Aureate Gloom
In the past, of Montreal have seen myriad reincarnations but Aureate Gloom isn’t worlds apart from the shambolic, hedonistic disco of 2013’s Lousy With Sylvianbriar. True to past form, this -– their thirteenth album – was conceived by Kevin Barnes working solo, with the lines coloured in later by the rest of the band. His verbose, awkwardly confessional lyrics are covered in glitter glue and sunshine, but this is painful catharsis rather than joyful celebration.
Words of witches, abattoirs and troubled dreams map out typically psychedelic imagery, and time signatures, genre – all the things commoners like us try to use when describing music – were abandoned by the roadside moons ago.
Like a hall of mirrors, it makes for a confusing, disorientating experience: initially exhilarating but ultimately exhausting. Some tracks, like the unexpectedly political Bassem Sabry (full of morbid, ironic handclaps) feel fresh and purposeful but others (with names far too long to list) feel deliberately impenetrable and perhaps only for the ears of the die-hards who’ve been there since 1996. Barnes’ troubling, colourful imagination isn’t always easy to follow, but by now of Montreal fans should know what to expect from the territory.