Whoever said the best music is being made in Canada is such a bore. We have all known that for ages, and here is some more evidence. Sunset Rubdown is a spin off group, fronted by Wolf Parade’s keyboardist and vocalist Spencer Krug and it's a little gem of an album. Krug’s distinctive voice makes this very comparable to Wolf Parade, but it’s a much more low-fi and immediate affair. Having said this the band manages to create such epic masterpieces out of next to nothing. Sparse, stripped down songs like Us Ones In Between plod along with such delicate beauty, and the contrast of seemingly cheapskate instruments overlaid with some of the most profoundly sad and insightful lyrics I have heard in a long time is powerful to say the least. Creatures great and small are a common theme on this album, lyrics like “I have heard of creatures who eat their babies/I wonder if they stop to think about the taste” are then reversed to say “Oh baby mother me before you eat me.” The Empty Threats Of Little Lord is another gem that echoes this sentiment, where “If I ever hurt you it will be in self-defence,” and “If you ever come at me I’ll hurt you,” are seen in a different more pathetic light when considering the songs title. Again, they follow such a delicate structure that it almost threatens to collapse under its own frail melancholy.
The lyrics to each song could be read as a book of poems and would still retain their impact and profundity when removed from the music. They create an almost dream like landscape of wild creatures and lovers that live forever. On the epic seven minute long The Men Are Called Horsemen, Krug structures the whole song around the horse metaphor stating “If I was a horse I’d have bricks in my mane, If I was a horse I’d throw up the reins." But then continues on to claim “But I am no horse and you are no angel.” Another seven-minute masterpiece brings this unexpected delight to a close with the title track Shut Up I’m Dreaming, which is what I would advise you tell people if they talk over this album. It is worth dedicating time to this.
Recently, I saw a poll of the best lyrics in modern pop music. I think the winner was a Morrissey lyric, and it got me thinking about the content of a lot of the songs that structure my life. To my surprise I found that though they were songs of undeniable genius, very few of the lyrics really stood up to scrutiny once taken away from the music. This isn’t always necessary but it’s great when you come across some that do. I strongly recommend looking these songs up and reading them as poetry, you won’t be sorry.