Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer Review score: 9.1

Ideally, lyrics should always have the power to spark the imagination, the ability to paint magnificent pictures in the mind of the listener or maybe to just get him to stop for a second and say to himself: “How did they think of THAT?”. If you’ve been waiting for such an album to come around then wait no more, because the Canadian outfit’s latest offering, Dragonslayer,  is brimming with just those kind of moments. Not surprising really, Spencer Krug’s knack for creating vivid, living stories through his songs being well known, even so, his songwriting is at an all time high.

Sunset Rubdown’s music has always been somewhat special within the indie-rock circle and with this latest album they’ve managed to firmly establish their special kind of sound. It’s something difficult to pinpoint, I’d say it is best described as stories being told through medieval, even fantasy, soundscapes. Thematically these stories cover a wide range of subjects. From the final acceptance of growing old, and subsequently passing the torch, of the opener Silver Moons to the conquering of seemingly impossible obstacles of the epic Dragon’s Lair.

Of course, this being Spencer Krug after all, the message is almost always heavily encrypted and first impressions as to the meaning of it could very well be wrong. Certainly it is a record that is opened to much interpretation and despite being, lyric wise, the most immediately accessible Sunset Rubdown album, it is by no means straight forward.

The entire album is brimming quality with standouts such as Nightingale/December Song, Paper Lace, Silver Moons or Dragon’s Lair. The first one being one of the definitive high moments of Spencer’s career. From the first verse “So let me hammer this point home, I see us all as lonely fires that have burned alive as long as we remember” to the last guitar string it’s one heck of a song.

In good Sunset Rubdown fashion the closer Dragon’s Lair is a 10 minute epic that tells a story of overcoming incredible challenges and rising up to the occasion. “You’re not a widow yet!” and “Either way it is time for a bigger kind of kill“, Spencer shouts, overcoming his obstacles and helping the listeners do the same with their own.

It seems fitting for this most excellent album to end on such a high, optimistic note. In the end, Sunset Rubdown manages to slay the dragon and come out on top with one of the best albums of the year.

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