Of Montreal back in peak form with latest LP ‘Aureate Gloom’

(Photo by Shervin Lainez)

(Photo by Shervin Lainez)

‘Aureate Gloom’
Of Montreal (Polyvinyl)
4 stars out of 5

It’s been 10 years since I first heard Of Montreal ( and the Kevin Barnes-fronted outfit dates back almost a decade before that) and was absolutely blown away by “The Sunlandic Twins.” I immediately dove into their back catalog and my love for Of Montreal was cemented a couple years later with the 2007 release of “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?”

Of Montreal CDThen, much my to my surprise — and disappointment — Barnes hit a lull. The next few records, while not terrible, failed to make much of an impression and I feared Of Montreal might have run its course. The unexpectedly awesome “Lousy With Sylvianbriar” was a pleasant surprise in 2013 and I’m convinced that Of Montreal have plenty left in the tank in the aftermath of the deeply personal — and flat-out fantastic — “Aureate Gloom.”

“I was going through a very stormy period in my life and felt like I was just completely trashed,” Barnes says. “I might be guilty of sharing or exposing too much of my private life, but to me the best albums are those that help people connect with an artist on a deep, human level and that do so without too much artifice or evasiveness.”

Barnes holed up in New York City last spring as he wrote the 10 tunes that became “Aureate Gloom” and the result is some of his best work in years. The opening tandem of “Bassem Sabry” and “Last Rites at the Jane Hotel” serve notice that this is a special album and Of Montreal later score with “Aluminum Crown,” “Monolithic Egress,” “Estocadas” and “Like Ashoka’s Inferno of Memory.” Welcome back. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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