If Spencer Krug’s upbeat work with Sunset Rubdown is indicative of his attitude before nightfall, then it seems his joy gets lost in the dark when the moon shows its face.
Most know him as an indie-rock nomad, but K rug plays musical mad scientist on Heartbreaking Bravery, his latest release as Moonface. This time around it was a collaborative effort with former tour mates (via Wolf Parade) and Helsinki natives Siinai.
The amount of experimentation on Bravery cannot be understated. But it works.
The album opens on a high note with its ominous title track. A balanced effort from a myriad of instruments accompanies a voice in Krug that sounds eerily similar to that of Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event.
The next two tracks, “Yesterday’s Fire” and “Shitty City” delve even deeper into the channels of the musical cosmos, but only find their way onto a comfortable groove in brief spurts. While it is apparent that a sense of bewilderment was Krug’s intention, a cohesive musical arrangement deserves structure with hooks and a chorus.
“Quickfire, I Tried” is the guiding light on a journey bordering on aimless. The background guitar matches the sweetness in Krug’s poetry (“Quickfire, I have tried to settle down/But am lifted by the sirens in my blood/and they are not done with their song…”), and the whole piece could fit into a climax of any classic 1980s rom-com with perfection.
The second half of Bravery takes a turn with dramatic and forgetful tracks like “Faraway Lightning” and “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips”. Any small sense of direction is lost in the remainder of this album, but not enough to cast a shadow over the work in full.
It may be hard to guess what Krug’s next project could sound like, but after now hearing both sides of the spectrum, I trust it to be worthwhile.