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Random Spirit Lover

11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 9, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Their third full-length features twelve songs that bleed in and out of each other, mixing portents with theatrics, confusions with conversions. "Beyond writing catchy tunes and packing them with whispers, mallets, harpsichord, and patches of cheapskate drum machines, [Spencer Krug's] an intriguing presence. Instead of bubbling along at one level, he roller coasters and raves, mixing nonsense with sharp observations and sadness with puns" - Pitchfork. "Shut Up I Am Dreaming" on Absolutely Kosher SoundScanned over 15,000 copies and earned Pitchfork's "Best New Music" tag.

While Spencer Krug's unique vocals, imagery, and wibble-wobble song structure remain intact, Random Spirit Lover showcases great growth for both he and his band as musicians. Spencer's voice and unique instrumental choices may scare some away, but with repeat listens, you truly see numerous layers to these new songs. The album begins with the same sound you may have come to expect from Sunset Rubdown on Shut Up I am Dreaming and also from Spencer while performing with Wolf Parade. Songs like "The Mending of the Gown" and "Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days" feature the same frantic, yelping and infectious lyrics that have become Krug trademarks. The album takes a turn at "Winged/Wicked Things" and slowly grows and evolves into a more refined yet experimental version of a band that has obviously started to discover their identity. The latter half of the album, beginning with "The Taming of the Hands that Came Back to Life," all the way till the last second of "Child-Heart Losers," features the band's best music to date and also the signs of a band that have become their own entity, far removed from Wolf Parade or Frog Eyes. --Aaron Swetnam

1. Mending Of The Gown, The
2. Magic Vs. Midas
3. Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days
4. Courtesan Has Sung, The
5. Winged Wicked Things
6. Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns
7. Stallion
8. For The Pier (And Dead Shimmering)
9. Taming Of The Hands That Came Back To Life, The
10. Setting Vs. Rising
11. Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!
12. Child-Heart Losers

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 9, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,067 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Spencer Krug is insane. In the best possible way of course.

And Sunset Rubdown has expanded their sound in every direction, with the gloriously dense third album "Random Spirit Lover." While their music hasn't changed drastically in sound, it's grown deeper and denser and much, much weirder -- in fact, it may be too dense to hear in one sitting.

It opens with a sprightly tangle of growling squealing guitar, energetic piano, bells and blurry synth. "He was a man of many nations, had a hundred souls and a hundred to go/He was a man of many nations, two hearts, two hands, it's a slippery slope," Krug yowls over the bouncy, cluttered melody. "It was the tender mending of this slender gown/that brought me bending to the ground..."

You might want to just turn it off after that, and take a little while to digest it. Or you can move on to the tremulous, mournfully quirky "Magic vs. Midas," which serves as a little oasis after the craziness of the first song.

But things don't really get any simpler after that -- we have twinkly marches, ominous indie-rock with a chorale, stately crescendos of ringing guitars, rippling dark electronica, and cascading eruptions of crazy harps and keyboard. Occasionally, they mix in a gentle echoing experimental song, a fuzzfolk pop song, or a tinkl little ballad like "Stallion."

You can really tell in "Random Spirit Lover" that Sunset Rubdown is no longer merely a side band for people from Pony Up, Wolf Parade, et cetera. Their music has really blossomed into a dense, intense combination of experimental music (a la Animal Collective) and pop tunes. You can dance to it, but it might make you dizzy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Will on January 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD
There's nothing out there similar to this.
That the album has gathered such a mediocre reaction from critics is a testament solely to the hysterically dense and over the top nature of the album.

This will be rediscovered at some point, as Moby Dick was over 50 years after publication, and it will be held as a classic of art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Parnell on November 12, 2007
Format: Vinyl
[This is a summarised version of my full review, which may be read at [...]

Wit in music. Not in lyrics, which is easy enough - but in the way one chord leads to another, or a melody appears, or pauses are used. It's a rare phenomenon: one found in the work of classical composers such as Handel and Haydn, say. A (rather more modern) witty album, in my opinion, is Weezer's Pinkerton (leagues better than anything else by the band) - and - now - Sunset Rubdown's Random Spirit Lover.

Few artists or bands successfully combine aspects of everything from troubadour-esque, quasi-Medieval balladry, through Music Hall, to 80s synth-pop. This outstanding ability to bring together disparate musical elements sets the band alongside artists such as Joanna Newsom - different though their respective `sounds' and influences may be. There's a baseline of irreverence and deliberate messiness, backed up by strong musicianship, that is reminiscent of Dresden Dolls - and a marriage between traditional rock instrumentation and the unashamedly synthetic that makes the band sound, at times, ever so slightly like Grandaddy (albeit Grandaddy on speed).

Songs range from lo-fi-electro-intellipunk jigs, through jerky, arpeggiator-laced takes on Roger & Hammerstein, to dark, retro delayed-synth interludes, like instrumental music to a lo-fi indie science fiction movie. Lyrics are often abstract, literary and somewhat opaque. But, when they need to be, they are clear, powerful - and brilliant.

Listening to Random Spirit Lover, it is sometimes easy to forget that these are songs - so well-considered and cleverly paced is the album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TS Simons on May 10, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
Sunset Rubdown has been the most difficult band for me to get into in recent times. I can listen to heavy metal, I can listen to noise, I can listen to metal, I can listen to Kanye (sometimes), but I could not figure out Sunset Rubdown for the longest time. When a friend handed me Random Spirit Lover, I gave it a cursory listen through once and didn't touch it again for almost a year. To say the least it's an intimidating album.

Looking back, what makes it so intimidating is its melding of pop with experimentation. Krug, who is among the best, if not the best, musicians/song-writers of this generation gets terribly strange on this album while managing to stay within the limits of pop music. At first, the result is an intimidating mishmash. You end up not knowing where to start, when to end (either right now or never), if you like the music. But, in the end, it becomes intelligible and then you see the Canadian's true genius.

He has taken pop music to a new level. Where other recent pop innovators (i.e. - Animal Collective) have taken pop music and mixed it with noise, added strange samples, Krug is entirely within the realm of pop music. Using just the normal pop/rock setup (guitars, vocals, drums, keyboard), Sunset Rubdown has managed to create something unsettling yet truly grand.
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