Live albums: why? So few tell you anything new about a band. Even fewer capture the psychic lightning of a great gig. Most are souvenirs of an event and a few are contractual obligations. Snare Lustrous Doomings (another forced and increasingly ludicrous title) is probably in the souvenir category, though you need to see the booklet to understand the spectacle that OM shows have become, sometimes at the expense of the music.
The record collects performances from Portland and San Francisco, though the effect is spoiled by the clumsy editing of songs, constantly reminding you that it’s a compilation of shows, and by the whooping US audiences. That, and the workmanlike band of anonymities that now backs Kevin. The albums might be solo works now, but the band – Dottie, BP, Jamie - used to be an entity in its own right, and added to the music rather than simply played behind Kevin.
There are tracks from Sunlandic Twins (2004) up to Lousy With Sylvanbriar (2013), and a welcome outing for 'Honeymoon in San Francisco', representing another era of Of Montreal in 1998 (from Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy). There’s a great version of Emitt Rhodes' 'Time Will Show The Wiser', best made known by Fairport Convention, and demonstrating Kevin’s taste in covers. But most of these songs are the nakedly confessional, transgressive and edgy songs, where Kevin becomes a falsetto-ed guitar swordsman on ‘St Exquisite’s Confessions’, or a 70s funkster on ‘Triumph of Disintegration’. There are decent versions of ‘Coquet Coquette’ and ‘Gronlandic Edit’, a roughly metalled-up and discordant ‘She’s A Rejector’ and a compelling 13 minute ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’, which is a showstopper in any format and here has a dose of swearing that suggests the feelings that inspired the song still smart with Kevin. Yet overall, there’s nothing to recommend this record, as you can find better versions on the albums, and even completists (like me) will feel a sense of apathy.