July 23, 2009

Sunset Rubdown

Montreal, QC Recorded by Graeme Gibson at Clava Studio in Chicago | Additional recording by Spencer Krug at Sun Rub Main Headquarters | Mixed by Arlen Thompson and Sunset Rubdown at Breakglass Studio in Montreal | Additional mixing at Mount Zoomer studio by Arlen Thompson | Mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket Mastering

Spencer Krug & Co. twist their whimsical indie pop-rock sound into exciting new directions on Sunset Rubdown’s third full-length, Dragonslayer, the Montreal quintet’s edgiest, yet most accessible work to date. The album’s eight songs play out like epic rock jams with looser instrumentation, more shredding guitars, brooding basslines and heavier percussion, resulting in a freer sound that is wholly, more badass.

Krug may be better known for lending vocal/ keyboard talents to Wolf Parade, but his Sunset Rubdown project, which also features Jordan Robson-Cramer (drums, guitar, keyboards), Michael Doerksen (guitar, bass), Camilla Wynne Ingre (keyboards, percussion, vocals) and newest addition Marc Nicol (bass, drums, percussion), is proving itself worthy of equal attention.

carries on the fairy-tale feel and off-the-ground melodies of past records, especially on the poignant opener “Silver Moons.” Yet, the best tracks see the band dip into sounds and genres they haven’t much explored. “Black Swan” builds tense percussion and haunted guitar squeals into an explosive rock blowout, while “Nightingale/December Song” marries a furious tribal beat with a longing, lonesome cowboy melody. “Idiot Heart” reveals a frenzied dance floor hit up the band’s sleeve.

Krug’s offbeat voice and lyrics add color to the songs he touches, sometimes offering ambiguous allusions to reality (“My dear/I’d like to fight the good fight for another couple a years/cuz to say the war is over is to say you are a widow/you’re not a widow yet!”); other times, off-kilter children’s rhymes (“There was a rumor of ghosts in the bedroom/hanging in and around the bed/by the time the moon rose/you had taken off your clothes/and had the pillow under your head”).

By the third Dragonslayer listen it became clear that not only is it Sunset Rubdown’s best album so far, but also surely one of the mightiest works of 2009. (Jagjaguwar)

-Julia Cooper


1 comment:

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