on 18 August 2006
Spencer Krug is fast becoming THE name in indie music. What, with him launching the massive Frog Eyes, splitting the vocals in the sublime Wolf Parde, and now this, Sunset Rubdown. Rubdown started life as a solo project for Krug, something in which he could create his own sound, but as he realised the potential of what he was doing, quickly enlisted other members to work on the second album. Shut Up, I Am Dreaming. These members are mostly well known in the 'underground' music scene: Camilla Wynn Ingr (Pony Up!), Jordan Robson-Cramer (XY Lover) and Mike Doerkson. Though Sunset Rubdown had now becoming a fully-fledged 'band'it still reamins to be more of a show-case for Krug's creative brilliance (don't get me wrong, it is a collective effort). From the first chords of 'Stadiums And Shrines' you know that this is going to become an epic album in the progression of 'mod-prog-rock,' fast. Krug wails in his usual hoarse, gritty, earthy voice treats us to his lyrical genius 'There's A kid in there / And he's big, and dumb / And he's kinda scared / Well he's too old to be there,' before proving that he is not the sort of frontman who just sings cliches into the mic, showing us he is aware of the world around him 'I'm sorry that your mother died / That one was my fault / And I'm sorry that anyone dies at all these days / Oh I see the night / With my own two eyes.' Rubdown quickly follow that up with the politically charged 'They Took A Vote And Said No,' a warning to implications of just taking things at face value ( ' Say "You don't know what king we serve, boy / You don't know what things we employ"'). In general, most of the lyrics seem to reflect an almost anarchic chaos of structured brilliance, something in which we had seen from Krug in the past (prime example, 'Fancy Claps' by Wolf Parade), before reaching, in my opinion, the best track on the album, 'Swimming.' A track steeped in artful synthesizers, and quite stunning piano riffs, in which noise becomes quite a stunning collection of chords before Krug begins to describe to us the confusia that love can bring, and the pain that goes in hand with it 'And shes swimming lord, just to be saved.'
Shut Up, I Am Dreaming, is an album that i could happily and quite easily ramble on about for page after page after page, but I'm sure you have noticed already I quite like to waffle on. It's because I'm English. But Sunset Rubdown are one of the best bands in their particualr genre of music in the world at this moment in time, bringing out some truly epic tracks, with a high majority of those tracks being on this one album. This album is an essential for any music fan, and I mean that. Buy it. Now.
on 13 June 2006
Well i don't know if Spencer (the singer on much of apologies to the queen mary) would want it saying, but if you love Wolf Parade, you'll certainly like, if not love, this. It's not just more of the same though - slightly less rocky and more varied, and very imaginative without compromising great actual music. Surprisingly (i thought), it's also very accessible, and i'd recommend it to all not just wolf parade followers.
on 25 May 2007
Between the Wolf Parade EPs and their acclaimed album, Apologies To Queen Mary, his work with Frog Eyes, the first Sunset Rubdown EP and album, and now this, it seems increasingly likely we're witnessing in Spencer Krug the genesis of an important songwriter.
The first Sunset Rubdown album, Snake's Got A Leg, was lo-fi from necessity and underdeveloped out of neglect, and certainly didn't hint at what might follow. The transition from barebones solo sparsity to the full-blown band grandeur of Shut Up I Am Dreaming is tough to countenance and hard to immediately appreciate.
In fact, the new album opens with Stadiums and Shrines II, a track that includes the same lyrics and melody as previous album's title track. Enforced by the presence of a band, it's slightly cleaner and less warped than before, beginning with cascading arpeggios that descend from crashing snares and cymbals. Krug's bashful lyrics set the scene perfectly ("There's a kid in there / And he's big and dumb / And he's kind of scared"). The echoes from Krug's previous work are everywhere, but the resampling is not unpleasant and, in fact, is a weirdly satisfying opportunity to view his work from varying angles.
The reinvention continues with Swimming, a giddying fugue with tingling piano and haunted-house music that is built around a music-box reprise of The Dust You Kick Up Is Too Fine from the Sunset Rubdown's debut EP.
A complex treatise on mortality, pride and guilt, the album is riddled with modesty. So, while Krug's passionate, piercing vocals might sound like self-pity elsewhere, here they sound remarkable. The lyrical brilliance is couched in colloquialisms, informalities, rampant contractions and line-starting conjunctions, just as a Pynchon or a Kerouac or a Vonnegut might do. It strips the album of all its self-importance, so that Krug's morality tales aren't preachy, they're inspiring.
They Took A Vote And Said No offers the most overt lesson in morality ("There are things that have to die so other things can stay alive"). It begins with Krug's voice flitting back and forth, before erupting with a waxing electric guitar. The piano-based ballad Us Ones In Between offers similarly surrealistic morals, when Krug ruminates, "I've heard of creatures who eat their babies / I wonder if they stop to think about the taste", and the chief refrain of The Empty Threats Of Little Lord ("If I ever hurt you / It will be in self-defence") sits between some glorious pseudo-misogynistic lines.
Mystical, creepy and heartrending, Shut Up I Am Dreaming is a forty-five minute shrug by shoulders sinking in emotional quicksand. It's a reminder to all of us from Spencer Krug and his band that sometimes it's okay to dream.