I am going to let you in on a secret, even though I may risk losing some "indie cred" for it. I have never really been too fond of Wolf Parade (oh no, get the Pitchforks!). I don't hate them, by any means, but I do think they have been incredibly over hyped, and I don't looooooooove them like I am probably "supposed" to. Though, I should be more specific; I think it's just Dan Boeckner I don't care for, as I've never really been into Handsome Furs, either. Spencer Krug, on the other hand... He is not only the other half of Wolf Parade, but also one third of Swan Lake, and leads Sunset Rubdown which is, in my eyes, his best band. What had started as a side/solo project has, four full length albums and a handful of EP's later, flourished into a full band where Krug is able to let his ideas flow. Their latest release is the awesomely titled Dragonslayer, which was recorded almost entirely live off the floor, giving the album the same energy and vibe of their (awesome) live show.
It starts off with Silver Moons, an interesting song as it almost sounds like it could be a closing song, and with lyrics telling us "maybe these days are over now", it doesn't even just feel like the end of an album, but the end of something much more significant... but yet, it's just the beginning.The first single, Idiot Heart completely changes things around; a rousing anthem with boundless energy and some of my favourite lyrics of the year; one such example is the Bucky nominated line "I hope that you die in a decent pair of shoes / You got a lot more walking to do where you're going to."
Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh! is one of my favourite songs off the album, and not just for the great title. An almost majestic song, with references to Greek mythology and excellent story telling, it is one of the perfect examples of how well Krug constructs his songs, not just musically by lyrically. Another great example of just that is Black Swan which starts out with an almost controlled chaos which bursts forth between verses only to be reigned back until it is allowed to come together and explode at the end. Paper Lace is a "remake", I suppose, of his Swan Lake song from this year's Beast Moans and... I think I like the Swan Lake version a bit better. And from a remake to a sequel, of sorts, You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II) follows Trumpet Trumpet Toot Toot from the previous album, directly referencing the chorus. It is another stand-out of the album, building to an awesome ending.
Nightingale/December Song is an assault of drums and has an almost tribal feel that leads excellently into the closer, Dragon's Lair. A ten minute epic of a song, opening with a light piano, it slowly gains momentum into what is not only the highlight of the album, but perhaps a highlight of any of the bands Krug is involved in. He doesn't just tell a story, but creates a whole world within the lyrics, and music, of the song. A superb way to end a great album.
Even though it's only eight tracks, is about fifty minutes, and those 50 minutes are packed with briliance. It had been said before, but with Dragonslayer, Krug cements just how much of a music genius he truly is. He knows precisely what he is doing and delivers it in an exquisite way, and that is what makes this album so great. There are very few bands that sound like Sunset Rubdown... or even could sound like them. This is a perfect example of why Sunset Rubdown is my favourite of all of Krug's bands.
Download Idiot Heart
Download Black Swan
Download You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)