Friday, June 5, 2009

A Bigger Kind of Kill

So Sunset Rubdown's 4th although I think of it more as their third album (Shut Up I'm Dreaming, Random Spirit Lover, Dragonslayer) leaked almost two weeks ago, and now that I've been listening to it endlessly on my various Apple products I think I can give it my review.

One of my favorite qualities about Sunset Rubdown is their ability to change. From album to album and even from song performance to song performance, the band is never afraid to mix it up. What's great about listening to their older song repertoire is listening to the development of a single song such as "Snakes Got a Leg" or "Stadiums and Shrines". Dragonslayer continues this tradition. For example in the cover of Swan Lake's "Paperlace" we can hear the stronger tone the song has taken on and the more "rock" feel that Spencer Krug seems to be going for with this album. I remember downloading "Idiot Heart" from their Daytrotter sessions almost a year ago, but now that we've all heard the album version I'm sure most would agree that it sounds exactly the same. What you hear on this album is exactly what Sunset Rubdown sounds like. The production level of Dragonslayer falls slightly below that of Random Spirit Lover, but still well above Shut Up I'm Dreaming. That doesn't make the album any less worthy than the other two albums. Like I said. Sunset Rubdown's strength is change and they succeed here on all levels.

The ballad-like opening track, "Silver Moons" begins Spencer Krug's vague story of an aged hero reminiscing on his glory days and prepares us for the rest of the album. Another strength of Krug's is his use of words. Silver Moons will use a lot of odd words and phrases that may make no sense upon the first listen, or ever. There are references to "confetti" the "moon" and the "dawn", which are fine words, but will begin to take on more meaning as the album progresses. Sunset Rubdown is all about themes and these themes seem to have their roots it Sunset Rubdown's earlier albums. In "Idiot Heart" Krugs shouts out "If I was a horse I would throw up the reins if I were you" a direct reference to "The Men Are Called Horsemen There" from Shut Up I'm Dreaming. This is done again in "You Go on Ahead" when Krug says "I'd Like to Throw this Trumpet Down", referencing "Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot, Toot!"

The beauty of Krug's lyrics is that they give you enough direction, but without being concrete that you are free to interpret the songs in any which way you want. I've always interpreted "The Men Are Called Horsemen There" to be about Krug's lack of confidence and ability to live up to masculine ideals. This is a theme that I think pops up a lot in his music, but that may just be my own interpretation. What is Krug's obsession with fires, suns, actors, virgins, horses, etc. I want to know, but at the same time it would probably ruin the songs.

I loved Random Spirit Lover because of its high energy, however I was not drawn to each song. Dragonslayer is different in the fact that it lacks the wound up energy of Random Spirit Lover ,however, overall I feel that each song is more enjoyable, making this Sunset Rubdown's most accessible album. I urge everyone to listen to this album all the way through in order and to devise some sort of meaning from its story. It's definitely worth your time 9.0/10

ps. Rather than post a song from Dragonslayer, which is all over the internet by now. I'll post a less common demo.

Stadiums and Shrines (Demo)

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