Of Montreal
Aureate Gloom


2.6
average

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
March 3rd, 2015 | 52 replies


Release Date: 03/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Conventionally unconventional.

Give Kevin Barnes this; he’s never been one to make things easy. Given his sizable discography and the vast array of styles he’s traversed over the decades, it’s a minor miracle that there’s barely a hint of repetition among of Montreal’s work. Aureate Gloom continues an unusually focused stretch for the famously prolific artist – 2013’s Lousy with Sylvianbriar brought Barnes back to recording with a full band, lending the proceedings a vitality and an easy confidence that more than made up for the atypically conventional song structures. That confidence continues onto Aureate Gloom, an album that sounds nothing like its predecessor (as always, par for the course), save for the full band disclaimer, and in its tortuous psychedelic passages, garishly painted glam rock and valiantly irregular arrangements you see how Barnes is working new ground here, melding his bizarre and labyrinthine compositions into something that can be played by a live band. Yet where Barnes has so often seemed to forge new musical paths where none previously appeared, Aureate Gloom sounds more like the songwriter taking a hacksaw to a particularly tiresome knot. It searches in vain for something, anything, to make it interesting, to make something pop.

When “Bassem Sabry,” about the recently deceased Egyptian journalist, leaps out of the speakers with a breezy funk rhythm and bursts of interstitial fuzz, Barnes sounds much like he did on Lousy with Sylvianbriar, invigorated and passionate. That Barnes is looking out of himself is a relief on its own; life inside Barnes’ mind, as so many listeners have found over the past years, can be a little suffocating. At other times the relief in is the record’s adventuring spirit. It’s reassuring to hear a song like “Monolithic Egress” and see all the little, intricate cogs in the Kevin Barnes machine, shifting and locking seamlessly in the context of a pretty kickass rock band. Sometimes this works – “Estocadas” is particularly beautiful, a concise bit of dense symphonic rock. Yet it’s the type of relief from seeing something dangerous and skillful you’ve seen done before successfully attempted again. Soon you can see the seams starting to show, as they do on the languid, dragging “Aluminum Crown,” and the by-the-numbers exploration of “Like Ashoka’s Inferno Of Memory,” which, in its multifaceted suite structure, stops and starts, and multiple phases sounds like the band furiously checking off every genre exercise they missed over the last nine songs.

As fresh and undeniably energetic as the band sounds here, the songs lack the simple verse-chorus-verse elegance and full-bodied melodicism of his last effort, too often thrusting forward, not just looking to satiate Barnes’ customary rollercoaster of emotional chaos but also looking for that next hit of spontaneity, a spark that is too often missing here. Taken apart into its individual pieces, Aureate Gloom appears a success; its tracks loose and brave, taking reckless turns and twists in arriving at a uniquely Barnesian place. As a whole, it’s a record that twists and turns itself into repetition, a hodgepodge of styles and aimless attempts at diversion that tread water more than they make a sail and actually go somewhere. A bubbly rave-up like “Empyrean Abattoir,” which escalates off its aerated rhythm into a furiously catchy kiss-off, is simply an example of Barnes’ silver ear for a tune – in this respect, it stands out. It’s the exception that proves the rule on an album full of songs that sound like ghosts of older, better of Montreal songs. Instead, Aureate Gloom distinguishes itself in Barnes’ catalog as its own inexplicable set of contradictions: a record rendered inert and sabotaged by its own ambitions.




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3.2
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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


11757 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

not a bad record per se, but absolutely nothing to grab me here. Barnes completists only imo

Veldin
March 3rd 2015


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Damn shame

Gyromania
March 3rd 2015


23455 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good call on the rating. i was thinking this was a 2.5, but upon further examination realized this is definitely more of a 2.6

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


11757 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

^lol

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


5772 Comments


God that 1st track is funky. Love it

Lakes.
March 3rd 2015


543 Comments


last one was already a huge step down from paralytic stalks. still getting this

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


5772 Comments


Ok yeah, after going through the album, it sort of loses me after a while. But it'll definitely be above 2.6 for me; probably around 3.5 or something.

RadicalEd
March 3rd 2015


8582 Comments


woah pretty harsh rating, although i tend to agree. Great read as always.

laughingman22
March 3rd 2015


2771 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

kinda harsh rating but I somewhat agree. This album did what False Priest and Skeletal Lamping did to me, a lot of the songs go in one ear and out the other but there a few choice cuts that save it.



Virgilian Lots rules.

Digging: Bjork - Utopia

ProjectFreak
March 3rd 2015


2184 Comments


Klap reviews are always an event for me, even though I think I'll probably dig this more than you

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


11757 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

False Priest is probably the closet analog to this one imo, not that they sound similar, but for how they kind of use bits and pieces of older sounds without standing out

Veldin
March 3rd 2015


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

mix of Lousy and False Priest. But the new addition of early punk music adds a fresh layer to the dense Of Montreal onion.

robin
Emeritus
March 3rd 2015


4430 Comments


rudy k OM reviews are the only constant in my life

Jade
Emeritus
March 3rd 2015


10698 Comments


nice work dude! also, glad you gave this another chance that +.1 made my week

zoso33
March 3rd 2015


426 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Its like a grungier 'If He Is Protecting Our Nation Then Who Will Protect Our Children, Big Oil?' with a healthy dose of nuance to distinguish it from their latest output. Love the break-neck pacing too - reminiscent of 'Skeletal Lamping' and that album rules.



klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


11757 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

death, taxes, 2.5-3.8 reviews of of montreal records

Anthracks
March 3rd 2015


6056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Stupidest summary

Digging: Anima Damnata - Nefarious Seed...

Anthracks
March 3rd 2015


6056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

you clearly prefer when barnes writes more straightforward songs. i do not. he is at his best when he is pushing the limits of what a song is.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2015


11757 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

ehh, i guess. i liked paralytic stalks more than this and that was hardly straightforward. i just think the songs here don't really stick

Jade
Emeritus
March 3rd 2015


10698 Comments


Somebody upsettt



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