With Wolf Parade now dead and buried and Sunset Rubdown seemingly on indefinite hiatus, one has to wonder whether Spencer Krug is the kind of person who easily tires of his own company. Just a year ago, the 34 year-old Canadian auteur announced that his solo project Moonface would henceforth be the sole outlet for his prolific songwriting; now he has surrounded himself with yet another new group of like-minded musicians, Finnish Krautrockers Siinai. Although with Heartbreaking Bravery he has stopped short of “formally” starting another new band (the album is officially credited to Moonface; “With Siinai” is part of the title), the pairing is an inspired choice. As you might recall, I wasn’t a huge fan of Krug’s last Moonface album; limiting himself (albeit intentionally) to cheap keyboards proved, for the most part, an experiment too far, resulting in a pretty poor melody-to-self-indulgent-noodling ratio. At his best composing complex arrangements for a full band set-up – be it Wolf Parade’s “Kissing The Beehive” or any of Sunset Rubdown’s prog-pop symphonies – Krug seemed to flounder without the usual guitar/ bass/ drums backing. Siinai, whose own debut marked them out as a tight and very capable jam band, here complement Krug perfectly; muscular but never showy, their spacious, stately widescreen rock is a far more successful interpretation of ’70s komische minimalism than the skeletal drones that made up Moonface’s Organ Music, whilst pounding first single “Teary Eyes & Bloody Lips” recalls Wolf Parade at their most instantly anthemic. But if the Finns can take most of the credit for fleshing out the backdrops, the album also serves as proof of what a gifted lyricist Krug is. Not many artists can paint such a vivid picture with a mouthful as awkward as “Before I go I think I should tell you/ All the stars are dying and most of them are already through/ We’re just getting off on yesterday’s fire”, but Krug’s stockpile of such imagery is seemingly endless; similarly, his timing is impeccable, drawing drama – and humour – out of lines like “Standing over the kill/ But I’m afraid… (pause)You are the kill”.
With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery is out April 16 on Jagjaguwar and is streaming in full at The Line Of Best Fit