Sunset Rubdown

Shut Up I Am Dreaming

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Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug peppers his songs with the same British affectations that fuel fellow Canadian Dan Bejar's skewed indie pop, but where Destroyer flirts dangerously with pre-Berlin-era David Bowie, Krug's formidable side project Sunset Rubdown seems intent on channeling early Gary Numan. Shut Up I Am Dreaming is pure bedroom art-pop with a thin Britpop glaze that is as poignant and self-effacing as it is self-conscious and pretentious. Krug starts things off with a bang on "Stadiums and Shrines II," an explosive piece of self-propaganda that utilizes Wolf Parade's manic energy, Arcade Fire's willful introspection, and Frog Eyes' vocal shudder -- Krug has moonlighted as a Frog Eye in the past -- with the kind of apocalyptic results that are usually reserved for album end pieces. It's a bold move, but it helps the listener figure out whether or not the road is worth taking in the first five minutes of the record, as what follows both expounds and splinters off from it. Utilizing an arsenal of keyboards, xylophones, treated guitars, and compressed drums, Krug can take a line like "If I ever hurt you it will be in self-defense," from the fractured and haunting "The Empty Threats of Little Lord," and make it sound both meek and imposing, showing a real knack for the kind of literate imagery so effortlessly flung by the aforementioned Bejar. Some of Dreaming's tracks meander too far and too long, illuminating the downside of home recording (no editor), but there's a melodious after-burn at work here that's missing from Krug's work with the more accessible Wolf Parade, and one that's not likely to flame out over the span of future recordings.

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