Don't dismiss Sunset Rubdown as a side project to Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes. Lead singer Spencer Krug's other two bands are better known among the indie-rock cognoscenti, but if Shut Up I Am Dreaming, Sunset's latest effort, is any indication, Krug thinks it should be the other way around. While Shut Up has a basement-recording ambience to it, the arrangements are complex yet accessible, and they complement Krug's, well, complex yet accessible lyrics. Side projects always aren't so cohesive in theme: Recurring lyrical references to snakes, water, death and other biblical matter point to some spiritual struggle, as screaming synths, mournful or triumphant guitars and herky-jerky beats vie for attention with Krug's singing (which is at times is annoyingly emotional and Bowie-esque but usually suits the music). It's the kind of sonic motif that would get old were it not so appropriate for this triumph of an album.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.