Saturday, 14 May 2011

Shut Up I Am Dreaming - Sunset Rubdown

Shut Up I Am Dreaming Of Places Where Lovers Have Wings by Kristian Alan Tom Jackson

"Shut up I am dreaming"; a fitting name for an album that demands the listener to escape into the world this album has created for them, a carnival scene of colour, sound and emotion; not the kind of emotion that would suggest Spencer Krug (lead vocals) has been drinking alone by the moonlight for a few years, but the full range. "Shut Up I Am Dreaming" takes us through joy, veers teasingly close to sadness and settles somewhere in between carefree and reminiscent.

This album is nothing if not rich, the liberal use of keyboard effects and the constant hum of sound in all but the quietest songs make for an album that never pauses to take a breath. The carnival atmosphere is not so much created with the lyrics, but with the music itself. It's not unusual to hear a heavily distorted guitar next to a honkey-tonk-style piano or even 5 instruments going full-pelt at once, fighting for your undivided attention.

"Shut Up I Am Dreaming" hits the floor running with the explosive intro of "Stadiums and Shrines II", only to calm down after a minute or two. They are looking to create an atmosphere, but Sunset Rubdown are aware that they need to add contrast to give the listener the full effect with each listen, which shows itself in the general formula of most songs of starting off loud, going quiet and then building back up again. There are exceptions of course, such as "The Empty Threads of Little Lord" which is almost exclusively acoustic, but the trend is noticeable.

If you're looking for something energetic, you can't do much better than "Snakes Got a Leg III". The fast paced nature, with a hint of manic desperation from Krug "They’re back at my ears with their nevereverending calling and their calling/ Their c-c-calling" results in something rather special indeed. It's party music, not because it's easy-listening and has a loud bass-line, because it doesn't, but because it demands carefree excitement and celebration to go along with it.

Krug's voice is often brought into question by those new to Sunset Rubdown, it's an acquired taste. However, once you learn to love it you don't want any of Sunset Rubdown's songs sung by anyone else. He has a voice fit for storytelling with an epic edge, often sounding like the effort he's putting into each song is about to make him collapse. Which from our end is a good thing, not so much for him though.

This isn't the kind of album you can pick up and like instantly, it takes work. If you want an album that's just a little bit different, that lures you into its atmosphere and keeps you there, I'd say you should give this album a try. It's 2011 now, it was released in 2006 and I've kept coming back to it all these years.


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