I liked the last Moonface album, but I thought it was a bit too self-indulgent. On that album, Spencer Krug, under the moniker Moonface, had a tendency to get lost in keys and sounds, stretching 3 minute pop songs into 7 minute epics. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn't. With Heartbreaking Bravery, however, Krug is the opposite of self-indulgent. He teams w/ a 4-piece Garage / Krautrock band called Siinai, allowing Siinai to take-on most of the instrumental writing responsibilities. (Interestingly, Siinai's last album, Olympic Games, suffered from similar issues of decadence as the last Moonface release, but, for whatever reason, when Moonface and Siinai combined, they created an album that was more restricted and well-paced).
The aesthetics of this album are theatrical, as is usually the case w/ Krug projects, building from patient, quiet rhythms to crescending movements of noise. It's palette consists of dreary reverby stoner guitars, echoey synths, and hallow drums, somhow throwing back to 70s David Bowie and 80s Echo and The Bunnyumen at the same time.
Heartbreaking Bravery, as the title would suggest, is a melancholy affair; a collection of torch songs in which Krug cries of heartache and broken love in a way that only Krug can. His voice cracks and whines to lyrics that are both dark and humorous. He's over-the-top w/out being ironic. "She was only twenty-three / or she was only twenty-four / I headed for the door / She was looking through old photos on the floor / and I headed for the door."
Spencer Krug has a long history w/ different bands and different sounds. His Wolf Parade project gained him much critical acclaim in the mid-00s. Fifths of Seven, Frog Eyes, and Swan Lake all had deservedly strong followings. And his last Sunset Rubdown album, 2009's Dragonslayer, went down as one of my all-time personal favorites. But this release that he did w/ Siinali, for me, rivals all of that.