Moonface : With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery
When you hear Spencer Krug’s voice, there’s no mistaking it for anything else. When it comes to committing to one particular sound, however, he’s something of a shapeshifter. The now-defunct Wolf Parade was his sturdiest anchor, with Krug indulging his wilder experimentations under guises such as Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes and Swan Lake. He has now settled into the Moonface moniker, though going by the past two Moonface releases – the percussive 20 minute Dreamland and the buzzing, chaotic Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped – he’s hardly going to be settling into one specific style.
There are two parts to that clumsy album title and they’re both pretty self-explanatory: Helsinki’s post-rock act Siinai are the backing band for this collection and Krug uses heartbreak as a subject for his lyrics. Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the final result is how accessible it is compared to Krug’s previous releases. This is not necessarily a bad thing – in fact, after a disappointing final album for Wolf Parade, it’s satisfying to hear Krug really let rip with a full backing band (drums and guitars, not marimba and organ) and create a consistently strong collection.
There are times where Krug seems a bit self-conscious about dumbing down his leftfield ramblings (‘It’s a shitty city now’ is just daft), but mostly it gives him a vital new vein to tap into. It pays off with a particularly invigorating middle of the album: pounding drums and sordid Korgs drive the all-too-short I’m Not The Phoenix Yet, followed by the tribal slow-burn of sister tracks 10,000 Scorpions and Faraway Lightning. It’s only toward the end that you really get a feel for the heartbreak of the album’s title, with the epic anthems Headed For the Door and Lay Your Cheek On Down. But bravery? It’s there in spades, on every song.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: I’m Not The Phoenix Yet
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Dragonslayer SUNSET RUBDOWN, The Hawk Is Howling MOGWAI
In A Word: Brooding