Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover

Spencer Krug’s brilliantly knotty Sunset Rubdown project is getting so shaggy ‘n’ complex, it’s easy to wake up and forget “I’ll Believe In Anything” ever existed. Yeah, overstatement, but damn if album the third Random Spirit Lover isn’t an eccentric bit of pop perfection: Across the dozen tracks, songs empty into one another, lyrics about bloodsuckers, lust, and courtesans are echoed or hidden beneath huge flourishes, and shouted, melodramatic melodies return like old friends. If you’re not paying attention, it’s like one shimmering piece of stained glass, only vaguely demarcated by faint moments of pause.

We’ve spent quite a few caffeinated deep-listening sessions with Random Spirit, but are still at work unraveling its complex geometry, all these densities. We called “Up On Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days” “epic, arpeggiated with tinkling glockenspiels, a proggy jig,” featuring “Spencer’s madcap, cackling melodicism, and an outro that will melt every club it sees this fall”. We stand by those words, boss, and that’s just one shard of the overall picture. You may remember a live, wax-burnt “Winged/Wicked Things” from the 2006 Daytrotter Session — it’s in there, but bigger. We also can’t get enough of opener “The Mending of the Gown,” both “Vs.” tunes, the entire bizarrely mellow, extra piano-rich middle section of the album, “For the Pier (and Dead Shimmering)”‘s three-ring two-step power balladeering, and the bombastic squall of “Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!,” etc. Oh, itty-bitty closer “Child-Heart Losers” might just include the sweetest, most mannered pickup line of the year: “Where’d you learn to stage dive with such grace?” Sigh.

Does it top Shut Up I Am Dreaming? It’s close. But we’re worried: Spencer, where the hell do you go next? Dude’s got the Midas touch.

Sunset Rubdown – “Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days” (MP3)

Random Spirit Lover is out 10/9 on Jagjaguwar. Catch the travelling circus live this October….

10/07 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
10/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/09 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
10/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
10/11 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
10/12 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
10/13 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
10/15 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
10/16 – Austin, TX @ Emo?s
10/18 – Tuscon, AZ @ Solar Culture Gallery
10/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
10/21 – San Francisco, CA @ Independent
10/23 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
10/24- Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Cafe
10/25 – Vancouver, BC @ Plaza Club
10/26 – Victoria, BC @ Logans
10/28 – Calgary, Alberta @ Broken City
10/29 – Edmonton, Alberta @ Velvet Underground
10/30 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan @ Amigos
10/31 – Winnipeg, Manitoba @ Royal Albert Arms
11/01 – Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
11/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
11/03 – Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle