4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The indie-rocker has sung,
This review is from: Random Spirit Lover (Audio CD)
Spencer Krug is insane. In the best possible way of course.
And Sunset Rubdown has expanded their sound in every direction, with the gloriously dense third album "Random Spirit Lover." While their music hasn't changed drastically in sound, it's grown deeper and denser and much, much weirder -- in fact, it may be too dense to hear in one sitting.
It opens with a sprightly tangle of growling squealing guitar, energetic piano, bells and blurry synth. "He was a man of many nations, had a hundred souls and a hundred to go/He was a man of many nations, two hearts, two hands, it's a slippery slope," Krug yowls over the bouncy, cluttered melody. "It was the tender mending of this slender gown/that brought me bending to the ground..."
You might want to just turn it off after that, and take a little while to digest it. Or you can move on to the tremulous, mournfully quirky "Magic vs. Midas," which serves as a little oasis after the craziness of the first song.
But things don't really get any simpler after that -- we have twinkly marches, ominous indie-rock with a chorale, stately crescendos of ringing guitars, rippling dark electronica, and cascading eruptions of crazy harps and keyboard. Occasionally, they mix in a gentle echoing experimental song, a fuzzfolk pop song, or a tinkl little ballad like "Stallion."
You can really tell in "Random Spirit Lover" that Sunset Rubdown is no longer merely a side band for people from Pony Up, Wolf Parade, et cetera. Their music has really blossomed into a dense, intense combination of experimental music (a la Animal Collective) and pop tunes. You can dance to it, but it might make you dizzy.
Each melody is made of a bunch of loosely intertwined instrumentals -- winding riffs that vary from ringing to fuzzy, solid drums and fast-moving piano setting the beat. And the whole thing is wound in a dizzying, colourful blanket of shimmering glockenspiel, harmonica, and swells of windy keyboard.
Krug is responsible for most of the vocals, and it takes a little while to get used to his yowling, dramatic voice. But he sings lyrics of staggering lyrical beauty ("You say it's the hair of ghosts/So I say it's the white hair of Poseidon/Ebbing in the tide in some dead sea"), and more than a little tenderness.
Even more striking, those lyrics are crammed with symbolism and dreamlike imagery -- leopards, virgins, snow and ice, the Shroud of Turin, and lots of diamonds and violins. There are plenty of repeating motifs in these songs, tangling them almost into a theme album.
Your ears may overflow while you're listening to "Random Spirit Lover," but the rich experimental pop and astounding lyrics make a wonderful way to be overwhelmed. Definitely a must-listen.