Personnel: Kevin Barnes, Bennett Lewis (vocals, guitar); JoJo Glidewell (vocals, keyboards); Clayton Rychlik (vocals, drums); Bob Parins (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Drew Vandenberg.
Recording information: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA (10/13/2014); Wonder BallRoom, Portland, OR (10/13/2014); Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA (10/14/2014/10/15/2014); Wonder BallRoom, Portland, OR (10/14/2014/10/15/2014).
Illustrator: David Barnes.
Photographers: Timothy Norris; Alicia J. Rose; Daniel Hager; Arel Watson; Barbara Fg.
Snare Lustrous Doomings is a 19-track, 90-minute, career-spanning live album from uncommonly dynamic indie stalwarts Of Montreal. Recorded and mixed by frequent collaborator Drew Vandenberg from shows at Portland's Wonder Ballroom and San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in October 2014, it predates Aureate Gloom and instead offers three tunes from 2013's critically acclaimed and Billboard 200-landing Lousy with Sylvianbriar. It also hits their 2007 breakthrough Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? hard, representing over half of that album. While we miss the loads of trippy fun that come from the band's visual presentation on the road, which includes a regular stream of props and costumes (physical copies come with a full-color booklet of tour photos), the performances never falter by the regular-of-late studio and touring lineup of leader Kevin Barnes on vocals/guitar, Bennett Lewis on guitar, JoJo Glidewell on keyboards, Bob Parins on bass, and Clayton Rychlik on drums. They, especially Barnes, attack the performances with punky, funky gusto, and by the end of the second song, there's already respectful wonder at how the songwriter remembers all of the lyrics to his verbose, often rapid-fire tomes. Highlights include the rambunctious "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" and the dance party "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger," which leads into the bass-crazed "The Party's Crashing Us" (kudos to Parins), though the party really only ever pauses for a sultry "Obsidian Currents" and "Honeymoon in San Francisco." The one cover from the set is a spot-on version of Fairport Convention's "Time Will Show the Wiser" with guest Nedelle Torrisi (Cryptacize, Sufjan Stevens) on vocal harmony, and the recording closes with a 13-minute jam of "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal." Nearly 20 years and over 15 albums in, Of Montreal were probably overdue for a live release, and Snare Lustrous Doomings, though not really a singles collection, captures the equivalent of a highly charged night out with the band's best-known material and rollicking showmanship. A must for fans, those who enjoy the group but find their records a bit challenging to get through will want to give this one a spin. It was first available in April 2015 as a Record Store Day exclusive on colored vinyl, and received a multi-format release six months later. ~ Marcy Donelson