"JULIA WITH BLUE JEANS ON" by MOONFACE // (Out 10.29.2013 via Jagjaguwar)
REVIEW: For the last dozen or so years, Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake) has been about as prolific an artist as one could imagine. His creative output is downright staggering in that he’s released more than 25 albums in which he’s been either the primary creative force or an equal parts contributor. Looking over those releases, it would be easy to say that Krug’s bread and butter are synth and piano-heavy songs with lush, electro-tinged, layered production. Perhaps that’s why his latest album under his Moonface alias feels like such a departure.
“Julia With Blue Jeans On” is comprised of mostly two things. Krug’s pained, haunted vocals and a lonely piano. Each song is a stripped back affair that goes for a less-is-more approach and the final result is a lovely ten song confessional that feels more intimate and personal than anything in Krug’s catalog to date. Once again, Krug’s brilliant songwriting takes center stage - only this time there’s little room for error, or hiding blemishes under production - and his ability to consistently craft memorable hooks that pack an emotional punch is why he often stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries. All it takes is one listen to the album opener, “Barbarian” to know that this is not your usual Spencer Krug. A sense of melancholy fills the spaces between each breath. At no point do you get a peak at the artist who crafted such wonderfully soaring anthems as “I’ll Believe in Anything” and “California Dreamer”. In his place is an older artist who believes he can still move you with more personal words, and less production - and he’s absolutely right.
Where does “Julia With Blue Jeans on” rank in the Spencer Krug catalog? To be honest, it’s hard to pinpoint without spending a few more spins inside it’s stark, somber walls. I can say without question, the album contains some of the best Krug tracks that he’s recorded since the early days of Wolf Parade. I love the minimalist production, but I can’t help but wonder how these songs would sound fleshed out with a full band as good as Wolf Parade. All that said, I can’t help but love the raw nature of these ten songs. With or without an arsenal of musical instruments and session players at his disposal, Krug can still craft beautifully haunting music that challenges and rewards listeners with infectious melodies and powerful lyrics.
KEY TRACKS: “First Violin”, “Dreamy Summer”, “November 2011”
LISTEN // WATCH: Listen to "Everyone is Noah, Everyone Is" //Watch a Paper Bag Session of Spencer Krug performing "Love The House You’re In"
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