home listen reviews
Sunset Rubdown


Sunset Rubdown's third effort is jarring and over-zealous, but in a good way. This nearly hour-long epic is a curious blend of brooding, bliss, and catchy riffs that sometimes go a little too far. What started as Wolf Parade frontman Spencer Krug's side-project seems to have sprung into his own personal outlet with a full band in tow. It's hard to believe that someone whose creative output has been this prolific--besides Wolf Parade, he's also in Frog Eyes and Swan Lake--could have so much energy to pour into one album.

Upon first listen, thoughts of Arcade Fire inevitably surface. Indeed the dramatic hammerings on all sorts of keyboards and the influence of David Bowie (and Krug definitely sings a bit like him) are all over Lover. But, whereas Arcade Fire stops to wipe the sweat from their foreheads with string orchestrations and moments of balladry, Krug and bandmates Jordan Robson Cramer, Michael Doerksen, and Camilla Wynne Ingr just keep it dripping right onto their guitars, keyboards, and drum kit. Maybe that's slight exaggeration, as there are slower moments on Love, as in "Stallion"--but it is a dystopian space age ballad with piercing high-pitched synths against mellower vocals. There's a dulcimer or autoharp strumming in "For the Pier (and Dead Shimmering)," which builds with keyboards and arching guitars into a darkly shimmering anthem, amid reams of distortion through time-signature shifts. The last track on the CD, "Child Heart Losers," is the only song that stays evenly slow through its entirety.

Sunset Rubdown (L-R)

Give Random Spirit Lover a spin. You might not think it entirely listenable, but it may draw you in. And once you're there you'll be happy it sucked you in, because this album is a finely wrought testament to the inner-workings of a young musician at the top of his form. • Katy Henriksen

Sunset Rubdown

listen to clips       return to covers     

sunsetrubdown.net       jagjaguwar.com

puremusic home