In the past couple of years, the indie music scene has increasingly given the impression of a snake eating its own tail. In a relatively short time, the genre, or whatever you want to call it, has grown from the domain of college music geeks and Value Village Rivers Cuomos to its glory of chart-topping bands from Montreal and teams of screaming high-school girls. Now, I don’t mean to knock the entire thing – the “Indie” label has given us many exceptional acts from the mega-stars Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene to the lesser-knowns Dufus and Caribou. However it seems like for every genuinely good act there are a score of the same uninspiring indie bands that profit off the hipster aesthetic, or who think the more ‘80s music references something has, the cooler it is. The result is that an area of music that thrived off the hope of something different and creative is now a “genre” that has long since lost any semblance of freshness.
It is in dark times that Sunset Rubdown shines through like a beacon of hope. Listening to Random Spirit Lover is like entering a feverish musical kaleidoscope. Spencer Krug of modern legends Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes shines again. What started out as a solo side-project has by now evolved into a multi-faceted group that proves it’s more than ready to stand on its own two feet.
From the first track, the door is flung wide open with an energetic romp that packs more style and variety into one song than one is often lucky to find in an entire album. As the album unfolds, one is taken on a journey that gives stylistic nods here and there while remaining independent and unique. It is quite simply an album that defies categorization. Experimental but with an acute pop sensibility, lyrics that run like poetry without the trappings of conventional verse-chorus-verse arrangements. Feverish in intensity but more of a playful fever than Carey Mercer’s “I’m about to lose it” fever.
I guess it’s too much to expect for any genre to produce great music across the board, and the fact that Sunset Rubdown is out there gives me hope that the indie bit still has room to grow. Now if we could just do away with the goddamn hipsters (we could lure them into a giant cage with a vinyl of “Thriller” and a vintage Devo shirt), we’d be getting somewhere.