50.) Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer (2009)
I have had a real rollercoaster of a relationship with Spencer Krug. I have both loved and loathed him at various points over the past decade (with one particularly volatile falling out after an underwhelming Sunset Rubdown show) but I have to say I have a sinking suspicion the man may be a genius. I love his records with unabashed fervor and though I am a big fan of Wolf Parade, I prefer his side project, Sunset Rubdown - which actually has more recorded output now than Wolf Parade. Does this make it safe to say Wolf Parade is his real side project at this point?
Regardless, Dragonslayer is one helluva record. I can't stress enough how put off I was by a Sunset Rubdown show I saw a few months before this record was released. Krug was cold and seemingly unfriendly on stage, like it was a chore for him to be there, but when I heard Dragonslayer it was as if he had been renewed. There is such a sense of wonder and, weirdly enough, fun on Dragonslayer, a record wherein Krug put it all together and made his masterpiece.
Dragonslayer is Sunset Rubdown's easiest record to like. The melodies are sweeping and the songs triumphant - orchestrated, but not necessarily fussed over the way they may have been on their last record, Random Spirit Lover. I can also bestow upon Dragonslayer one of my highest compliments - most of the songs are quite long and every time out I wish they were longer. As cliched as this is, each song on Dragonslayer is like a little journey. They take unexpected, but not unpleasant, twists and turns along the spectrum. Standout track "Idiot Heart" actually feels like three different songs all culminating in one glorious finale and one of the great lyrics of the decade - "I hope that you die/In a decent pair of shoes/You've got a lot of long walking to do."
2009 has been one of the strongest of the decade with regards to great records and I fear that Dragonslayer may have been slept on what with being released among some other sexier records. If it slipped by you for some reason you should rectify that and take a listen - it's one of the best of this year and of the decade for sure.
Posted by Pat Driscoll