Review Summary: Seriously the best track that Sunset Rubdown have ever recorded.
A piano. Well, a piano where the hammers hit xylophone bars, wooden ones. Wait, no, that's not it. Really, a piano with hammers that hit xylophone bars and
bells. That's it really, well how it sounds, the it
being the marimba, a damn near pre-historic instrument. Central and South American by way of Africa, closely resembling a xylophone in both construction, execution and history, and by all accounts it's as awesome as it is old. Though more of a traditional instrument and widely used in its new and old homelands (official instrument of Guatemala whaaat!) the marimba has still found its way to shores around the world via the pop hits of yore. The Rolling Stones employed one in "Under My Thumb" as well as Elton John on "Island Girl." Ruth Underwood played one for years in The Mothers of Invention and even Phillip Glass has been known to smash a mallet here and there. But what is more interesting is how little
the versatile instrument has been used in the North-Western Hemisphere, considering how vast it's influence is just a little ways South. So shouldn't be too far of a stretch to think that Canadian Avante-Pop wunderkid Spencer Krug could and subsequently would, get his hands on one and craft a 20 minute long song, comprised basically of a collection of marimba chimes, minimal drums and like 6 vocal tracks. Surprise is just how ***ing good it is.
Comprised of a single track, and at a plump twenty minute run-time, Dreamland EP: marimba and ***-drums
could at first seem like a cheap cash grab of the utmost pretension. But, thankfully, the ***'s free. Or rather if you proceed to Moonface's homepage, you can follow a link, enter in a desired donation (0 if you want it for free, duh) and get yourself a very high quality FLAC or MP3 with an active email address. So, free with minimal work, but that's not the point. Point is that Krug hulled up somewhere with a pimped out, glorified xylophone and laid down the best track that Sunset Rubdown never recorded -- for free.
Of his other bands, Sunset fit the closest to what Dreamland
sounds like. Spencer keeps to the Rubdown's free flowing prog-pop style and (amazing)renaissance-faire lyrics depicting a vast dream world where he plays a glass guitar, waves come alive
and Krug himself is the moonfaced flower child.
What sets it apart from Sunset though is the restraint. Maybe it's because Krug's the only one messing with the mixing pot this go around, but all those times where Sunset are just too loud, or too off beat, or well, too damn boring, it just doesn't happen here. The track keeps rolling, consistently throughout it's horrendously long run-time nearly flawlessly. Each movement of the song, in both sonic and symbolic, from one section to the next is expertly done, with Krug's mallet skills being put to, and delivering on, a serious test of chops. Which is impressive considering how little is actually used, and how big
the track sounds. His vocals, that amazing, warbling, David Bowie croon, are tracked en mass and add a choir like aspect to his delivery. Which accompanied with the rotating chimes of the marimba add to the ethereal feel of the music and make it that more jarring. The chimes and vocals are accented by a strategic placement of drum fills, mostly low end, and mostly upbeat. They top off the track and add girth to the sound, fleshing out the bridges and adding life to the joyous choruses. So, yes, Dreamland
is pretty much a 1-song designated EP. But it's also a piece of work from an artist that has proven his worth many times over. It's just nice to see that he still cares enough to evolve, and continue making great music -- for ***ing FREE.