Sunset Rubdown 


People make a lot of Spencer Krug's lyrics. Are they intentionally obfuscating, diary-page abstract tapestry? Do they spell a narrative? Perhaps extra attention is paid because Krug enunciates more clearly than most singers in popular rock music. Perhaps it's because his lines are unusually evocative, rangy, and, you know, good.

The prolific Krug is the better of the two singer-songwriters in Wolf Parade and the unfortunately named Sunset Rubdown is just one of his side projects. On Dragonslayer, Sunset Rubdown's fourth release, Krug crafts a characteristic pack of beguiling, moody rock ballads — groovy, proggy, urbane — set in a sui generis mythos that endlessly alludes and amuses.

The record's title is cribbed from a 1981 sci-fi film, and Icarus, Cupid, and Rapunzel all make cameos. But the characters appear only as sojourners in this otherworldly text. The band's splashy, fuzzy electronics rev, stall, and shape-shift beneath Krug's bizarre incantations. It's a surprisingly suitable soundtrack for this mishmash of canonical fantasy and simple whimsy.

Dragonslayer is home to near-animate text objects that take many different forms — all of which Krug strives to sunder in his epic realm. Paper burns and paper fades/and paper crumples into ugly shapes; confetti floats away like dead leaves; elsewhere, papers chase each other/into oblivion. These are the songs of the old gods reborn in fire. (Jagjaguwar)


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