Reviews Sunset Rubdown Dragonslayer

Sunset Rubdown


Spencer Krug may be our generation’s Robert Pollard. Both seem to excrete music. Both create surreal visions full of vibrant characters and dense metaphor. Like Pollard's best albums, Dragonslayer sweeps us across a landscape replete with broken lovers and ephemeral romance and lonesome dirges.

The connections between characters, images, and ideas are easier to spot than on 2007’s more elusive Random Spirit Lover. On “Idiot Heart,” we catch Krug’s quixotic stumble, “If I found you in this city, and called it Paradise, I’d say, ‘I love you but I hate this city.’” The song which begins with Krug’s affected, "No, I was never much of a dancer, but I know enough to know you gotta move” ends with a furious chant of “I hope that you die in a decent pair of shoes - you got a lot more walking to do where you’re going to.” It’s as if Krug has lost control of a relationship, a person, and is now focused to those remnants of memory which he can direct.

In 2007, his “taming of the gown” saw him trying to capture the energy of a burgeoning relationship; on Dragonslayer, we see him grappling with the loss of that energy. He retreats into these worlds of his own construct, announcing “My heart is a kingdom where the king is a heart. My heart is king, the king of hearts.” These songs are Krug’s escape – sonic empires over which Krug asserts complete control. It is here, in these protected worlds, where Krug can scrutinize the demons which defied his attempts at taming.

Ultimately, this album is more approachable than any of Sunset’s previous works. We hear a broken Krug wrestling with his assailants. It is the most straightforward look we’ve seen of him, and the subtraction of Krug’s trademark crypticism allows us to connect with him as a person as well as an artist. At the end of the album, when he asserts the following...

I see us all as lonely fires / That have burned alive as long as we remember / Like all fireworks and all sunsets / We all burn in different ways / You are a vast explosion and I am the embers.

...we are simply left to sizzle.

8.9 / 10Kaveh
Radio K 2
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8.9 / 10

8.9 / 10

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