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With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 17, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

The lyrical theme of Moonface's With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, recorded with Helsinki prog kraut rock band Siinai, is heartbreak. According to Krug, it was not planned, but became obvious halfway through the writing process. Some recently battered, still mildly swollen heart snuck its way into the first lyrics written, so he went with it. He wrote songs based on his own experiences with heartache, stories told to him by friends, and drummed up scenarios of ill-fated love that were absolute fiction.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 17, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • ASIN: B007941D9W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,709 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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I liked the last Moonface album, but I thought it was a bit too self-indulgent. On that album, Spencer Krug, under the moniker Moonface, had a tendency to get lost in keys and sounds, stretching 3 minute pop songs into 7 minute epics. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn't. With Heartbreaking Bravery, however, Krug is the opposite of self-indulgent. He teams w/ a 4-piece Garage / Krautrock band called Siinai, allowing Siinai to take-on most of the instrumental writing responsibilities. (Interestingly, Siinai's last album, Olympic Games, suffered from similar issues of decadence as the last Moonface release, but, for whatever reason, when Moonface and Siinai combined, they created an album that was more restricted and well-paced).
The aesthetics of this album are theatrical, as is usually the case w/ Krug projects, building from patient, quiet rhythms to crescending movements of noise. It's palette consists of dreary reverby stoner guitars, echoey synths, and hallow drums, somhow throwing back to 70s David Bowie and 80s Echo and The Bunnyumen at the same time.
Heartbreaking Bravery, as the title would suggest, is a melancholy affair; a collection of torch songs in which Krug cries of heartache and broken love in a way that only Krug can. His voice cracks and whines to lyrics that are both dark and humorous. He's over-the-top w/out being ironic. "She was only twenty-three / or she was only twenty-four / I headed for the door / She was looking through old photos on the floor / and I headed for the door."
Spencer Krug has a long history w/ different bands and different sounds. His Wolf Parade project gained him much critical acclaim in the mid-00s. Fifths of Seven, Frog Eyes, and Swan Lake all had deservedly strong followings. And his last Sunset Rubdown album, 2009's Dragonslayer, went down as one of my all-time personal favorites. But this release that he did w/ Siinali, for me, rivals all of that.
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A.k.a. Canadian Spencer Krug (Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade) with his 2nd Moonface album,
this time with Finnish band Siinai, formerly known as Joensuu 1685. The result is a sort of
diverse, medium paced indie rock with a flair for epic drama based around subtly developing
rhythms and a powerful voice. Elements of pulsing Krautrock, punctuated by bursts of soaring
synths and dark guitar chords threaded around & through the commanding vocal presence, lend
this an enveloping aura of majestic beauty and resonance. I often hear the influence of David
Bowie in Krug's voice, along with artists like the National, the Dears, Shearwater, the Besnard
Lakes, Roderick Falconer, Mark Lanegan Band.
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This album is really amazing. Better than moonface's first full-length by a long stretch. Just as good as any Sunset Rubdown release, so if you like Krug's quirky voice, song-writing and yelps. It's all here in a high quality manner.
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It survives multiple listens and gives Handsome Furs a firm handshake and moves on. Great musical Art. Im still Evaluating it. And thats a great thing.
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With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery
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