Article - Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug emerges with Sunset Rubdown

Dragonslayer clocks in at epic proportions

Better known for his work with Montreal indie powerhouse Wolf Parade, Spencer Krug also fronts Sunset Rubdown — a band emerging as his most compelling side project.

Sunset Rubdown surfaced in 2005 as a lo-fi solo platform for Krug to experiment with his primary instrument, the keyboard. Early works like Snake’s Got a Leg and Shut Up I Am Dreaming were promising — if not always entirely satisfying — productions. The act eventually took on a full roster of players and began incorporating more traditional melodies and focusing its metaphor-rich lyricism, culminating in 2007’s highly acclaimed Random Spirit Lover.

Nowadays, Sunset Rubdown sounds more than ever like a full band. The latest release, Dragonslayer, due out in late June, largely abandons the act’s previous idiosyncratic tendencies in favor of, well, different idiosyncratic tendencies. Echoing the epic quality and progressive rock flavor of Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer, most of Dragonslayer’s tracks are well over five minutes long, and its charging, magnificently overblown finale “Dragon’s Lair” clocks in at 10-and-a-half.

Like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, or David Foster Wallace’s only slightly more literary epic Infinite Jest, the album will take years to unravel, but it touches largely on the themes of love and death. “I think maybe these days are over now,” Krug sings on opener “Silver Moons.” “Gone are the days bonfires make me think of you/Looks like the prophecy came true.” Unlike Random Spirit Lover, which was largely stitched together in the studio, reportedly more of Dragonslayer was recorded live, which contributes to the album’s cohesive, united-band feel and should make for a fun live show.

Based on the strength of Krug’s recent work, one is inclined to conclude the prolific singer/songwriter can’t do anything wrong these days. That conclusion wouldn’t be far off track.