Other than his insistence on giving his projects ridiculous monikers, Montreal singer-songwriter Spencer Krug can't seem to do much wrong in recent years. His main band, Wolf Parade, had one of 2008's strongest albums (At Mount Zoomer), and his primary side project, Sunset Rubdown, has put together a string of tremendously satisfying works.
That act's latest, Dragonslayer, is perhaps its best yet. A sprawling, whimsical journey into Krug's psyche, it features ruminations on relationships; emotional calls to arms; and angry, near-vicious screeds against his detractors (including himself). As the title of the album implies, Krug mostly maintains a confident, triumphant attitude throughout, with tracks such as "Idiot Heart" full of angry yet self-satisfied assertions ("Look at you go! You know your heart...but it's an idiot heart"). Musically, Dragonslayer maintains At Mount Zoomer's prog-rock tendencies, surrounding Krug's oft-experimental keyboard parts with a full-band sound, complete with guitar solos, feedback and male/ female harmonies.
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At times, it feels like the group has bitten off more than it can chew, what with the extremely long songs and constant tempo changes. For the most part, though, the work is as fun to listen to as it is ambitious.