Kevin Barnes, the man behind the Athens, GA based project of Montreal has released the bands thirteenth studio album, Aureate Gloom. The album’s delivery can, once again, be credited almost solely to the cross-dressing glam rocker. Barnes has written, produced, and played almost every instrument on the last eight albums exclusively. It’s only with the live touring act that Barnes will bring in band-mates to play his songs. And these are his songs. They’re the continuation of the obsessive songwriting and melody making that Barnes has been tinkering with since his childhood, also a period spent on his own.

Aureate Gloom shows strength and progression on the musical path of the band. On the surface, all the standard Kevin Barnes fare presents itself: strange rhyming sequences, bizarre lyrics, piercing insults, all set to the tune of hypnotizing psych-pop. Looking a bit deeper, the songwriter’s message reveals a broader picture. He’s touching upon more of that isolation, depression, deep despair, and loss. The drum-driven garage-punk howls, salted with whimsical yet straightforward lyrics, locks the listener into Barnes’ enchanting journey.

Barnes seems to prosper in times of tribulation and extremely challenging difficulties. He pours himself out completely, without censorship, to the recording. It’s easy to allow yourself to get lost in positive sounding upbeat disco glam, effortlessly concealing deeper themes of pain. Fueled with new wave dance beats, distorted guitars, reverberating synthesizers, and multiple layers of Barnes voice (and psyche), Aureate Gloom burns strong.

Barnes delivers exciting new hues of 70’s country disco heard in a way never heard before. It’s an enchanting and haunting dream-pop soundscape of unadulterated honesty, albeit heavy. The musical ribcage of the album is made up of the early sounds of the 1960’s English garage pop nuance throughout. This time around, Of Montreal created something new with Aureate Gloom. What it is, exactly, is difficult to discern.