Published on October 20th, 2013 | by Craig Silliphant0
Moonface – Julia with Blue Jeans On
Spencer Krug is one prolific motherfucker. ‘Good’ prolific, like Ty Segall, who pumps out several highly listenable albums a year, as opposed to ‘bad’ prolific, like Ryan Adams, who had a high output of suspect material after his first couple of albums. You see, prolific only means something if your shit is good.
Moonface is Krug’s solo project — you’d know him from acts like Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, and Swan Lake. It’s always worth taking a listen to whatever he’s putting in front of you, and this new effort, ‘Julia with Blue Jeans On’ is a moody album of dark chamber songs that perhaps, like other Moonface material, found itself under that moniker because it didn’t fit with his other projects. This isn’t the first Moonface record, there’s been an EP and two full lengths prior to this, including ‘Heartbreaking Bravery,’ which was catharsis for a break up and recorded with Finish band Siinai. On ‘Julia with Blue Jeans On,’ Krug still hangs onto the corners of darkness, but seems to be exploring, like a once-jilted lover that puts on one of those old tyme diving suits to wander from the scene of his heartbreak and rediscover his sea legs.
‘Julia’ starts out strong with ‘Barbarians,’ a punchy, elegant, and glum tune that sets the tone for the album. The key thing about the record is that it’s just Krug’s vocals and his accompanying piano. The songs are laid bare, as are the emotions, lyrics, and melodies — there’s no thick walls of instrumentation for anything to hide behind, which says a lot. Emotions are measured in swells of volume and tempo, as he goes from tickling the ivories sadly, to pounding them with fervor.
I don’t know that it reaches the insane height of ‘Hope There’s Someone’ by Antony and The Johnsons, which is a benchmark for something like this, but either way, it’s a Sunday morning listen with depth and intimacy. Perhaps that makes it a Saturday night 4 AM drunken confessional listen. It depends on your point of view, which is the cool thing about a morose album like this. You can feel the loneliness or you can revel in moments of hope and brightness, like the sun poking its face through dissipating thunderclouds after a rainstorm.