Sunset Rubdown’s Spencer Krug is adept at providing tension. His voice, in the vein of David Byrne, is tight yet his range is expansive, giving each track on the band’s third release, Dragonslayer, a defined urgency that is fully realized.
True to its title, Dragonslayer emanates a mythical aura pricked by the subject matter. Plodding piano and coat-hanger guitar fuel “Silver Moons” where the baton is passed “from the old mare to the fawn,” and boisterous staccato drives “Black Swan,” casting a tale of “a black swan outside the palace." Rounding out the triptych of album highlights is the spirited “Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Anna Oh!,” where a squirrely hook is lit-up by ubiquitous piano chops, Krug’s tension tempered by the sweetly dim accompaniment of Camilla Wynne Ingr. Unfortunately, all three tracks emerge on the first half of the album, and the latter tracks scramble unsuccessfully to keep pace.
Throughout Dragonslayer, one thing is clear: Sunset Rubdown is capable of brilliance. And while some groups hit their stride on their first release, and many find their pace on number two, Sunset Rubdown still has some growing to do. With that in mind, here’s to number four.
Dragonslayer is out now on JagJaguwar.