Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock
Do a favor for me: imagine, if you will, a post-apocalyptic landscape, Hunger Games style, where we’ve all jettisoned the pretense of not wanting our entertainers to follow our consumerist sensibilities to their logical extreme and fight each other, tooth and claw, to the death in order to earn our unending affection. Except instead of kids, we’re watching Canadian musicians. And instead of being the best at archery (right? I haven’t read the Hunger Games or seen the movies because, like all music critics, I am ninety years-old and live in the darkness of my long-dead parents’ basement), they try to be the best at writing songs to make your dumb life seem infused with a sense of real, electric grace.
“And this more human love (which will fulfill itself with infinite consideration and gentleness, and kindness and clarity in binding and releasing) will resemble what we are now preparing painfully and with great struggle: the love that consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other. ” Flip through the lyrics sheet for Moonface’s new album, and you’ll find this Rilke quote prefacing the fourth song, “Quickfire, I Tried. ” The quotation’s placement is curious — as is much else about the record — but its purpose is unmistakable.
Review Summary: slow-jams, but not really.Heartbreaking Bravery is billed as something entirely new and yet entirely defined by the old. It’s a prog-indie genre kick starter with Spencer Krug- already a dragon-slaying, expressionistic songwriter- putting his guitar down a tone and hiring an instrumental Finnish band to create mood music. Depending on how you look at it, the definition spans from boring to mad, and assumes some sort of batshit crazy storytelling will be compartmentalised into the forty-five minutes of music.
MoonfaceWith Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery[Jagjaguwar; 2012]By Ray Finlayson; April 17, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGWhen Spencer Krug said that his Moonface projects would probably never sound like Wolf Parade or Sunset Rubdown, I imagine the majority of Krug’s fans hoped that he would one day eat those words. Enthusiasts of the Canadian mastermind are always likely to welcome his forays into experimental sounds and ideas, such as his Dreamland EP, where he explored the content of his dreams over a certain time period, all to music created by marimba (and shit-drums), or on his album from last year, Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped, where he served up five slices of organ-fuelled cheesecake. But there will always be a pining for a return to form, for Krug to either keep at it with Dan Boeckner and eventually churn out another Apologies To The Queen Mary, or hook up with his Sunset Rubdown crew and just create another Sunset Rubdown album.
In a somewhat ambiguous self-penned 2011 press release , Spencer Krug either called time on Sunset Rubdown or maybe just let people know that he’d personally be going under the name Moonface from now on. ‘Moonface is not a band, just plain half-old me, in any solo or collaborative projects I'm involved in from now until whenever,’ quoth he. The bad news for folks hoping for a new Sunset Rubdown album anytime soon is that With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery’s ungainly title really does suggest Krug is in earnest about only now releasing under the Moonface moniker.
Spencer Krug, one of indie-rock’s most prolific and schizoid songsmiths, has always displayed a knack for channeling broad emotions through fucked-up sentiments. But I’m not sure anybody was prepared for the title track to Heartbreaking Bravery, his third left-field collection under the Moonface moniker. “When you were next to the wild animals / I was a baby still on the tit,” Krug sings in his trademark Bowie-with-hiccups yelp, over echoing piano chords and shimmering bass drones.
The first record where Spencer Krug really let his imagination run wild was called, fittingly, Shut Up, I Am Dreaming. Since then, the grand theme of his catalog has been the tension between the world in his head-- which is peopled by dragons, courtesans, and kings-- and the persistent, alarm-clock nag of the world around him. In his work with prog-pop juggernauts Wolf Parade and his more fanciful onetime solo project Sunset Rubdown, Krug has fashioned himself a kind of indie rock Don Quixote: a raving, good-natured lunatic more comfortable in the realm of metaphor and myth than physical world.
It's a common practice for indie rock records to end with the album's slowest, moodiest, and most dramatically lingering song. This happens so often it's beyond citing examples; it's a trend that's afforded itself a distinction all its own, that "last song on the album" kinda song. Heartbreaking Bravery, the second album by Wolf Parade singer Spencer Krug under the solo guise of Moonface, is full of these kinds of songs.
Spencer Krug isn't one to linger. He left Wolf Parade behind. He left Sunset Rubdown behind, twice: First he turned it from a small home-recording project into a full-on band, then he broke up the full-on band. And now he's got Moonface, a project that now has three releases under its name, none of which sound anything alike.
Spencer Krug would presumably insist that all of the 827 Canadian bands he plays in are equally important. But, realistically, most people will associate him with Wolf Parade first, ranking the others according to their indie tunefulness. Krug’s second album as Moonface finds him collaborating with Siinai, a Finnish group given to krautrock retroisms – but this is less cosmic or indulgent than expected.
Although we live during a drastically different time for music to flourish, it should be duly noted that the best musicians continue to make music as a purely expressive extension of their art. Often, we forget that the best bands and artists are creating their craft and delivering it for all of us to enjoy; so naturally, as any good artists does, they delve into various ways to improve, various ways to grow, various ways to thrive. Spencer Krug doesn’t make music to fit into any kind of mold, he also doesn’t make music to simply crank out album after album, what Krug does is immerse himself into music and its spellbinding qualities.
Having finished with the Canadian indie scene and his marimba stylings for the time being, ex-Wolf Parade man Spencer Krug's new project sees him turn to thundery, occasionally anthemic krautrock as his new favoured form. Krug met members of Siinai when they toured Europe with Wolf Parade in 2009 and, after some cross-continent songwriting, headed over to Finland to cut With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery earlier this year, adding vocals and keyboards to their music. Driving the album is Siinai's love of precision.
There’s always been an epic quality to Spencer Krug’s musical output. From the ecstatic cries of “I’ll Believe In Anything” on Wolf Parade‘s debut LP to the mythical narrative of Swan Lake‘s “All Fires” off the supergroup’s Beast Moans to the numerous proggy excesses of Sunset Rubdown‘s 2009 album, Dragonslayer, Krug has often explored moments of great struggle and adventure, while still finding room for odd digressions and human quirks. His heroes can be brave and romantic, but they’re just as often inarticulate, confused and even rude.