Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wicked/Winged Things

this is the first draft of my review of the new Sunset Rubdown song, "Wicked/Winged Things" on the upcoming Random Spirit Lover. I spent a day conflicted as to whether I should download the leak of the whole album off the internet and just review that, seeing as this song was so damn amazing. I ultimately decided against it, though it essentially takes a good chunk of what I would have put in the album review and puts it to press, rendering it useless if I were to review the album proper. At any rate, this should appear in the next Hatchet after revisions and editing.

Download This Song From Jagjaguwar

Spencer Krug must be one of those crate digging/file sharing maestros, that guy you know who played that Velvet Underground demo for you and spoke rapturously about it, noting the differences in how "The Ocean" unfolds over 10 minutes in the live version, whereas the one on VU comes in at a scant 5 minutes. Krug brings this love of the process of song into his creative output. From his first Sunset Rubdown album, Snake's Got A Leg songs that months later appeared on Wolf Parade albums in full blossom were little bedroom freakout ballads. On last year's "Shut Up I Am Dreaming", Krug returned to a few songs adding virtuosic guitar players, keeping the shambolic keyboards and flexing his Wolf Parade muscles in different ways.

These new songs from his new upcoming album, Random Spirit Lover are all a continuation of this process. Where fanboys inherit the earth. The new single, "Wicked/Winged Things" saw release earlier this year as an mp3 on daytrotter.com in a different, slightly more subdued version. Sunset Rubdown sound even tighter than before, rivaling the towering majesty of Krug's other full time band, Wolf Parade. Every new thing from these Canadian boys makes me terribly nervous before I hear them. How can they keep it up? How can they release three solo albums between the two lead singers, and at least two more where Krug was a contributing member. When is the shark going to jump the pool full of motorcycles? When will they run out of juice. As these songs from Random Spirit Lover, and last month's Wolf Parade show (which was heavy with new songs) at the Cat's Cradle can attest; it hasn't happened yet.

"Wicked/Winged Things" slowly creeps in on the listener. Soap opera synths whisper the song into life as blissfully reverberated guitars tremble like the handheld harps of cloud bound angels. Krug asks whether these angels are angels, white as the Shroud of Turin, or are they just smoke? If these angels are more than just "the white air of Poseidon", they're not perfect. Here is where Krug knocks me flat. As the band pounds out a backdrop for volcanic lead guitar, he draws a straight line through the "chaotic and blind" flight pattern, as chaos is luck, luck is love, and love is blind. Not as much of a straight line as a circle. Is it a snake eating itself? Isn't that just what a circle is? In the end, as the chaos built around the song begins to fade, Krug puts the matter to rest, "oh I say I've seen them, it's just smoke".

Where the poet, Billy Collins wondered what angels do when not dancing on the head of a pin, Krug's is content to question only if they're there.

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