[sic] Magazine

Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

‘Vintage Krug’

There is much to commend on Spencer Krug’s second release as Sunset Rubdown. He has really caught the zeitgeist of 2009’s true indie-rock. Piggy-backing Dirty Projector’s well-received release ‘Bitte Orca’, his Dragonslayer is equally eccentric and unconcerned with mass unit-shifting. It takes the same eccentricity Wild Beasts have so skilfully mined in their second album, pitching it will great aim at the correct and fickle bastion-barometers of taste.

Dragonslayer is naturally epic, but rather in subject matter than risky scope. To that end, and despite Krug’s own claims to the contrary, it possesses the fanciful, concept qualities that The Decemberists harnessed so well on ‘The Hazards Of Love’, whilst retaining a degree of indie, cult status akin to that achieved by Neutral Milk Hotel.

Krug’s native Montreal, and Canada as a whole, is yet to recapture its Midas touch so prevalent a couple of years ago but consistently solid releases, such as this, will steady the ship. Along with his other, relatively successful side projects Swan Lake and Frog Eyes (and the much-overrated Wolf Parade), Krug is proving dependable. However, on Dragonslayer, he is not the star alone. Keyboardist and backing vocalist Camilla Wayne, provides entirely complimentary, ear-catching vocals to balance Krug’s Byrne-isms.

Although some of the material on Dragonslayer is merely playing the role of a supporting cast (Paper Lace), it is often offset by sweeping and affable tales of butterflies and black swans. With this in mind, those hoping for an album of equal stature to the critically-lauded debut may be left quietly, but satisfactorily, indifferent. 10-minute closer ‘Dragon’s Lair’ however steals the Dragonslayer show for pure pomp and coherency, at least the latter half of it does with waves of crescendos and deservedly overdone bombast. It ties the meandering tales to a fire-breathing objective, one achieved, if it set out to calmly please and gently baffle.