Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

January 01, 1970

(Jagjaguwar)

 

www.jagjaguwar.com

Spencer Krug’s voice is the one that always rings operatic through the lovely,
messy indie-rock haze of his main band, Wolf Parade. Actually, with the
ever-increasing success of Sunset Rubdown, his “other” other project, besides
the quirky Swan Lake, it’s becoming unclear which band
is really his “main.” Not that it matters, as they are all rather different,
sometimes subtly and sometimes dramatically so. Krug’s songs for Wolf Parade
are always a bit show-tune-y, like an unwritten musical by a modern-day Kurt
Weill, full of changes and hooks and tinkling pianos. Dragonslayer, Sunset Rubdown’s latest, is no different in this
regard, although it may be the most driving, urgent, and rocking record the
band has created thus far. It also feels the most like an album by a full group
instead of a solo project, no doubt due to the inclusion of band members in the
recording process.

 

And never more so than on a track like “Idiot Heart,” which
rides on a wave of driving bass and drums and caterwauling guitar, as Krug
repeats “Look at you go!” over and over. “Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna
Anna Oh!” and the album’s opening song, “Silver Moons,” are more recognizable
as the utterly unique and appealing beer-hall rock that Sunset Rubdown does so
well, a neo-indie version of Weimar cabaret. These songs take their time, never
rushing to reach their peaks or denouements – most clock in above the
five-minute mark. And above it all rides Krug’s warbling vocals, keeping the
whole mess together.

 

Sunset Rubdown continues to deviate from rock and roll
conventions with every new album. Whether Dragonslayer is softly exploring a new melody or unleashing guitar chords in an aggressive
and challenging manner, it’s doing something in a way that you haven’t quite
heard before. In other words, Spencer Krug continues to keep indie rock
interesting.

 

Standout Tracks: “Idiot
Heart,” “You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)” JONAH FLICKER

 

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