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My iPod had a cracked screen when I was seventeen. I listened for the click tones to alphabetically get to the artists I wanted, a process that I endured for about five months. I always landed on of Montreal's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer by accident, and would change it immediately because I didn't know the strange sound that kicks that record off. When I finally sat and listened, I heard a thing of beauty so singularly innocent and guilty of the world's pleasures all at once. All I had to do was accept one noise.

Since, Barnes has had a habit of throwing dozens of these complex noises and genres my way within the context of a single song. The newest, Aureate Gloom, has collected these idiosyncrasies in the best way since Fauna's atom bomb performances, and I'm teaching myself to be a little more studious and patient with the sounds. Although it's a lesson that took seven years and five albums, I'm glad I made it out on the other end, because 'Empyrean Abattoir' sounds fantastic. Barnes isn't trying to show me how many cool words he knows. He's letting a calm story unfold in the tracks first half before resolving into a punky sing-along bereft of pretension. Since 'Abattoir' and the tracks before it are bouncy pop tunes, 'Aluminum Crown' arrives just in time with graceful washes and sonic nightmares of "troubled dreams" right before I get ear fatigue. A pummeling verse does reveal itself in between two of these sections, but Barnes acquiesced to my wishes for the track to end peacefully on the more somber section.

Here, I feel like we're having a dialogue about how the record could be produced instead of me putting up with a flighty Kevin Barnes who's trying out the entire book of tricks looking to confound expectations. However, I do get expectedly lost in the next three tracks where Sly Stone, Nick Cave, and Roger Waters all make inspirational appearances. It's a veritable mess (although the raucous vamp at the end of 'Virgilian Lots' is dope), but is fitting for a 2015 of Montreal - and it paves the way for another pop gem embodied in 'Estocadas', where a sarcastic elegy about "nature writhing in her own filth again" sits atop a buttery bassline as distorted guitars fade away into soothing violins. Riding back up the wave, 'Chthonian Dirge for Uruk the Other' pummels and punishes my headphones before receding itself into a feedback version of the previous tracks dissolve.

Barnes's prose is rife with moments I want to be able to scream: "masturbating your father's pain," "every leader is a cellophane punk," and "now it's just a system of subtraction" are all worthy candidates. Since uncovering a direct lyrical theme has been impossible since 2008, I have to imagine what the nonsense means. Opener 'Bassem Sabry' seems pretty clearly to be a millennial shot at political entropy, but could also be a simple tribute to the tracks namesake. 'Last Rites At The Jane Hotel' hints at domestic concerns, but pigeonholing Barnes's message is synonymous with missing the point. As such, growing to accept the sheer number of itemised references is the best cheat at getting through a modern of Montreal album. Attempting to utilize Aureate Gloom as a way to relive Fauna's towering emotionality will only leave me feeling emptier about the current state of the band, and I've got one of their shows coming up. This is an entirely different band. It's just taken this long to come to terms with it and how much less vulnerable I am to their charms.

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