So I have this thing that I do. On Thursdays and sometimes on Tuesdays I need to hit up the University campus, which is a forty minute bus ride either way. I can't read on the bus, because it makes my eyes feel funny, and I can't write on the bus because the road to uni is a bumpy country one and my letters look like arthritic spider legs. You know what I can do on the bus? Listen to music!
Every time a new album comes out from a band that I like but not enough to be all over the release I add it to a list. Every bus trip I listen to the next album on the list. This normally highlights the weaknesses of many albums. A few good songs but a lot of filler that causes my mind to wander. They don't even feel like albums at all.
To me a good album should be like a novel. Songs should be chapters. Are some chapters in a book better then others? Of course! But would they be as good without the other chapters? Nope. That to me is the difference between good albums and amazing albums. A good album has a collection of good songs, an amazing album loses something if you don't listen to it as a whole. Think Aeroplane Over the Sea, Abbey Road, All Hail West Texas.
And, as I discovered on today's trip to uni, Sunset Rubdown's new one, 'Dragonslayer.'
I can't comment on the lyrics too deeply yet, other than to say that I like them very much, yes. It's not the content so much as it is Spencer Krug's delivery. The careful pronunciation of 'come be a wild thing,' or the passion when he bursts out with 'you're not a widow yet!' Ah yes, these are things that make my indie heart quiver.
But what struck me most was the sound of the album. It sounds like war. Medieval war. Desperate, all is lost, nothing left to loose, muddy, bloody, drag it out war. These sounds like sounds that a young soldier would sing to himself as the sun dawned over a battlefield. The drum is frantic, it skitters about like a mind that hasn't slept in a week and a half. The distortion sounds like ringing ears in the wake of canon fire. There's something almost hallucinatory about the the whole thing, but in spite of that it never wanders. This is not some jammy trip, every sound is in its rightful place.
And rising out of the cacophony are some truly awesome hooks and choruses. It's pretty impressive, to have an album that sounds so psychotic but also begs to be sung along to.
And just so you know I am aware of the irony of sharing two individual songs with you here, having just spent the past ten minutes lauding this album as a whole unit.