Random Spirit Lover
With their third album Sunset Rubdown present you with 2 options. (A) You could buy the album and listen to it a lot of times or (B) You could attach a balloon to a hose pipe, turn on the tap as far as it could go and put your face close to the ever expanding sack of tension. The result would be the same except for one difference. With option (B) you would get a more than refreshing blast in the face as the balloon bursts showering you with water. With option (A) the balloon would burst every 30 seconds and instead of a torrent of water pouring out, great birds of prey would launch forth from their captivity showering gold dust from their outstretched wings on any one lucky enough to witness this magical splendor.
Random Spirit Lover tests the elastic limits of both the album as a structure and your listening patience. It is crammed full of the most complex and intricate music heard since their last record and by building tension constantly it looks you square in the eyes and asks "how much are you willing to take?" Spencer Krug is the tour de force behind this project and it was his exquisite turn of phrase that dazzled in last years Shut Up I Am Dreaming. This time it's the grand musical arrangements that sweep you up in their daunting majesty and carry you away to lands never seen by the human eye. The songs give a fleeting glance to convention hinting at chorus and verse but bleed into one-another so completely that it would be impossible to separate this record into singles.
From the word go The Mending Of The Gown comes out of the blocks at an alarming pace. and the pounding piano and screeching guitar do their best to keep up with Krug's impatient vocals that tumble out like a rapid stream of consciousness. The songs are crammed with more instruments than are healthy and with multi layered vocals an all-encompassing wall of sound is created. This is where the listener can easily become overwhelmed but the album is cleverly paced with just enough pauses in this sound barrage to keep you onboard, like the opening drum/vocals on The Courtesan Has Sung. This slight glimpse of space makes the monstrous guitar that welcomes back the wall of sound seem even more thrilling.
Krug's work is always high drama and this album more than most has an unquestionable theatricality to it. His lyrics are steeped in antique narrative and invoke wild, fairy-tale imagery of magicians and courtesans or riding around on leopards throwing dead birds in the air. But with the addition of the music Random Spirit Lover is more akin to an opera both in its scale and ambition and in the fact that quite often you don't have clue what is going on and frequently think about leaving. And this time will come for us all believe me. The first prong of this attack is with the arrival of Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns. It is obviously the stories dream sequence where all rules are forgotten and the song descends into an unbearable spiral of synthesizers that never let up. And they continue through the next track like a nightmarish approach of madness. Thankfully the albums crowning glory rises triumphantly from this hell like a winged savior. The Taming Of The Hands That Came Back To Life is is the song to bring this record back to life. It;s a galloping, sword wielding knight riding into adversity. But sadly its bravery is soon overcome by Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot! Having been kept at bay for so long the fierce wall of sound returns bigger and fiercer than ever. It's wrath quashes our brave Knight into dust as the sound swells to terrifying levels and the entire structure of this record is threatened more than ever.
As you can see this music brings out the drama in us all and that is why it is such a special thing. It's like a girlfriend you just can't stay with but have to make yourself leave. It's a high maintenance ball buster that sometimes you just want to strangle but its ability to thrill at a moments notice and to transport you to far off places makes it virtually impossible to dismiss. It wont be the one you'll settle down with but it will claim a place in your heart forever.
6th Dec 2007 - Tumblr4
Shut Up I Am Dreaming
Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.
12th May 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Minimally written and confidently directed, with a brutally violent third act… https://t.co/Vm7dMUrd3i.
4th May 2018Read more star reviews
Unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. Surprisingly slight effort from Linklater.
29th Apr 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another tired entry, trotting out the same old tropes, plus new nonsensical gibberish.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2 star reviews
A third crack at Spider-man. Fun-ish, but it’s zero-stakes, zero-jeopardy. Bit smug too.
31st Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another garish super-hero flick. Slightly above average, mainly by being more old-fashioned.
30th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.
16th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Incredible, tense, original thriller. A western with snowmobiles.
14th Mar 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Career retrospective doc that keeps it fun and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
11th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Blockbuster-by-numbers as Universal clumsily attempt to build a franchise.
24th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
The Story of Mudhoney
Unsurprising history run-down, enlivened by the band’s ferociously DIY attitude.
21st Feb 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Some good ideas, buried by shambolic direction and storytelling.
20th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Intense, eerie thriller that’s surprisingly straightforward and a little old-fashioned.
30th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Disappointingly slow, underdeveloped and literal monster metaphor from Nacho Vigalondo.
27th Jan 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Long, but moving and stylishly directed period drama. Fantastic cinematography.
15th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Grown-up superhero flick. Handled far better than most, but ridiculously violent.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Slated by the critics, this is a stylish, slight, small movie - with two massive stars in it.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Fun, original take on an otherwise ageing property. Apocalypse Now meets Watchmen.
5th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Clunky Brit thriller that telegraphs every one of its sub-Hitchcockian twists, despite the decent premise.
3rd Jan 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Stylish, fast-paced, amusing antidote to the endless stream of generic superhero movies.
27th Dec 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Disappointingly slight award winner, that doesn’t find its stride until 10 minutes from the end.
27th Dec 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Left-field genre mash-up that pitches itself just right. Solid action, good humour. Thoroughly enjoyable.
25th Dec 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Bleak, real-time journey through the realities of living on benefits.
25th Dec 2017Read more 3 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Shambolic sequel that squanders the promising set up from JJ, plus 40 year… https://t.co/SdXpv8B5hj.
21st Dec 2017Read more star reviews
The Extra Terrestial
Kids on BMXs sticking it to the man. What could be better.
19th Dec 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Lifeless sci-fi horror. Gravity meets Piranha.
12th Dec 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Disappointingly flat and uninsightful documentary from Michael Almerayda.
5th Dec 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Amiable, zero jeopardy comedy from Soderbergh. Slightly unsure what it’s trying to be.
2nd Dec 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Another thoughtful biographical effort from Mike Mills. Stylish but a little long and sprawling.
25th Nov 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Stylish, but utterly nonsensical drivel. Knowing anything about the game might vaguely help.
24th Nov 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Bland, predictable potboiler that could have been written, directed and acted by a computer.
18th Nov 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Stylish, touching movie. Nicely acted if a little slow.
12th Nov 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Historical engaging, but languidly edited thriller surrounding the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.
5th Nov 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Intense, mournful coming-of-age drama. Very stylish and operatic. Terrence Mallick via John Singleton.
21st Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Intricately plotted, but seamlessly crafted into a lighthearted modern classic.
20th Oct 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Belated sequel that remixes the original with some success, but the nostalgia runs a little thin.
15th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
A Beautiful Mind meets the A-Team. Convoluted actioner that doesn’t transcend its premise.
11th Oct 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Solid, uplifting biopic. Well structured with moments of real tension despite the inevitable ending. And 91m.
11th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Good visuals, nice music, flabby storytelling and a confusing plot. A worthy sequel.
6th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Convoluted, charmless sequel. A rare misfire from Pixar.
17th Sep 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Andrea Arnold transplants her class observations to the US. Unforgivably long, if beautifully shot.
17th Sep 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Billie Joe Armstrong plays a former star dealing with 40. Good concept, rendered as flat as possible.
16th Sep 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Woefully inept, on-the-nose sci-fi romance. A reasonable concept executed in the worst way possible.
10th Sep 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Nicely directed, but a true story often doesn’t make for a well shaped film.
31st Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Over-complicated, over-stylised mess from a director who clearly fluked his debut.
30th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Overlooked Dr. Suess adaptation from the Minions guys. Charming, but lacking a stand out character.
30th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Utterly standard undercover cop gets in too deep movie.
29th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish modern sci-fi with a clever structure, but it's still a film about subtitled aliens.
24th Aug 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews