For the Wolf Parade fans who only wanted more after last year’s Apologies to the Queen Mary, there is good news. The renowned indie rock band’s keyboardist and singer Spencer Krug recently released Shut Up I Am Dreaming, the latest album from his solo project Sunset Rubdown.
In many places, Krug’s vocals are overwhelmed by complex soundscapes that seem to range in influence from Brian Eno to Modest Mouse. The dark, electronically driven “I’m Sorry I Sang on Your Hands That Have Been in the Grave,” progresses from repetitive, droning discord to comparatively smoother synthesizer melodies, as Krug repeats, “da-da da-dum-dum, carry on.” In “Swimming,” the piano reaches the height of its moody tone, as Krug hammers out haunting tunes. This song could be the theme to a bad acid trip – it is that kind of music, breaking out into bits of happiness before discord takes over. This is the kind of song that could scare someone shitless with its schizophrenic shifts, though the song finally concludes in a calmer melody that almost leaves listeners unaware of just how freaked out they were.
Krug reminds his audience that the voice can haunt as well as the music does, as in the percussive stomper, “They Took a Vote and Said No.” As Krug speaks through many characters, he reproaches listeners, “Well there are things / that have to die / so other things / can stay alive / The fire burns / it burns to give / it has to burn, alive / to live.” Yet, he concludes with the accepting, “Oh, that’s how it goes, baby,” before the band breaks back into crashing guitars indicative of the song’s overall tension.
The album concludes with the more accessible “Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings,” a seven-minute rocker filled with peaks and valleys of minimalist guitar riffs that explode into lush instrumentals. Krug ends repeating the mantra “Don’t make a sound” as the song finishes with two minutes of guitar-driven dance beats. Late-night listeners, listen up. This album was worth waiting for.
[Brian Van Wyk likes his Sunset Rubdown late after a long, hard night at work.]