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
Despite the good press, it's another shapeless, bloated one-dimensional rough cut from Christopher Nolan.
17th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Ambitious CGI can’t save this bland comic book entry. Cumberbatch’s accent strikes the death blow.
17th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Unchallenging drama investigating life with eating disorders. Occasional Keanu Reeves.
12th Aug 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Flawless new-generation animation from Disney. Action, heart, comedy and very catchy songs.
6th Aug 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Intense, terrifying, riveting thriller from Tom Ford. Great performances and assured direction.
22nd Jul 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Reasonable zombie drama. More rewarding than Walking Dead, but still a bit derivative.
14th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Intense, borderline arthouse Canadian kidnap drama from Atom Egoyan. Ryan Reynolds impresses.
8th Jul 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Self-important, slightly contrived mainstream indie with the one with the good hair from Friends.
8th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
More clichéd Terrence Malick. Amazing cinematography. Meandering improv. Great real-world settings.
6th Jul 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Brutal 80s TV movie, imagining nuclear winter. Age has blended the stock footage to horrifying perfection.
3rd Jul 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Surprisingly charming, sentimental, old style movie with no need for an antagonist. Plus, solid DeNiro.
1st Jul 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Never Go Back
Serviceable action sequel that ticks a lot of boxes without thinking outside of any.
27th Jun 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Totally predictable, thoroughly inspiring animated sing-a-long for the X-Factor generation.
24th Jun 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
B-list, mis-cast, low-ball girl gang comedy. Weak.
19th Jun 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Catastrophically miscast black comedy that fails at every turn. Big let down from star and director.
11th Jun 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Effortless retread of a show that survived well past it's sell-by date.
29th May 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Codswallop that's as indecipherable as every other recent DC movie. Terrible script, hammy acting.
22nd May 2017Read more 1.5 star reviews
Chaotic, bloated sequel. Low on humour and mostly involving bad guys flying through plate glass.
17th May 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Lazy, half-baked remake/reboot, totally lacking in charm.
17th May 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Wafer thin parenting parable, barely coasting along on the charm of Ferrell and Wahlberg.
16th May 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Classic western tropes burn slowly to an intense finale. Classic Jeff Bridges.
12th May 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Tired, pointless rehash of a franchise that long ran out of steam.
6th May 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Stooges doc that is interesting by default, but dull given that Jim Jarmusch is behind the camera.
28th Apr 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Poingiant doc of the latest Bad Seeds album. Still falls into the usual making-of box.
26th Apr 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Stylish, thought-provoking indie contemplating the weighty responsibilities of parenthood.
22nd Apr 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Great 90s blockbuster, with Harrison Ford carrying the movie on top finger-wagging form.
18th Mar 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Accomplished character piece. Almost stretches itself a bit thin, but it's stylish enough to transcend.
18th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Dated indie classic that uses music to create pseudo-sentimental highs of little real substance.
18th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Engaging, nostalgic doc which meanders through the rise and rise of 1995’s greatest band ever.
14th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Quintessential Gus Van Zant. Great art direction, acting and photography. Possibly better with age.
7th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Confident indie comedy-thriller that pitches itself perfectly.
4th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Thoughtful character study, with Eddie Marsan standing up for those who slip through the cracks.
26th Feb 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Brutally fast paced meta-fest, backed up by the most sensible bat-plot for a long time.
16th Feb 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Tenuous financial hostage thriller, that doesn't add up to the sum of its parts.
11th Feb 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Disappointing punk rock horror thriller, that doesn't make the best of its left field set up.
9th Feb 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Potentially forgettable buddy cop pic, elevated by a killer script and live wire performances.
1st Feb 2017Read more 4.5 star reviews
Accomplished, charming NZ indie comedy that wears its influences well.
1st Feb 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Inspiring doc about the kids remaking Raiders over 7 summers.
24th Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Eight Days a Week
Inspiring reminder of the sheer volume of trail blazing laid down by The Beatles.
22nd Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Seminal kids movie that I underrated in '85. Shot with an easy pace, until the free-swim at the end.
Halliwell says: The bottomless pit of the Spielberg genre, a silly tale which takes forever to get going and is acted by children who have not studied elocution. The trick effects when they come are OK, but it's a long annoying haul to that point.
22nd Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Glacially paced, pretentious arthouse fluff, that fritters away a potentially interesting set up.
21st Jan 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Unremarkable potboiler from Le Carre, with a disappointingly bland turn from Ewan McGregor.
17th Jan 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Small scale period drama, anchored around strong central performances.
15th Jan 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Ambitious small scale sci-fi that drags a bit before it all gets a bit wacky.
11th Jan 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Tarantino zeros in on the most-tedious-film-ever award. Someone get the guy a new editor.
7th Jan 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Inventive ensemble drama, as David O. Russell takes another shot at Scorsese's crown. Great soundtrack too.
7th Jan 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Dawn of Justice
Mind-boggling, convoluted actioner that seems to have been written by picking ideas out of a hat.
4th Jan 2017Read more 1 star reviews
Extended super hero punch up, not dissimilar to the news man brawls of 'Anchorman'.
1st Jan 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Seamless CGI remake, lacking in humour and executed with the seriousness of LOTR or Apocalypse Now.
30th Dec 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Text-book rom-com that rebooted the genre and set the template for the next 3 decades.
26th Dec 2016Read more 4.5 star reviews