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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 2, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Spencer Krug, the leader of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, has been releasing solo material under the handle Moonface since 2011. In advance of the release of Moonface's 2018 album This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet, Krug announced that it would be his last Moonface project, and that any future solo work would be issued under his own name. It's tempting to view This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet as a summing up for the Moonface era, or possibly as a way to clear out the project's odds and ends. In the press materials for This One's for the Dancer, Krug revealed that the album was compiled from material originally recorded for two different albums, using different collaborators and recorded at different times and places. While the material coheres well enough, the songs reflect two points of view -- some of the songs are written from the perspective of Spencer Krug himself, while the others reflect the thoughts of a Minotaur trapped in a maze who wants to forgive the fellow mythological figures responsible for its plight. In both sets of songs, repetitive keyboard patterns create a steady pulse and melodic anchor. In Krug's numbers, the singing is bold in its Bowie-esque delivery and booms out over the accompaniment, which includes periodic interjections from a sax player. Elsewhere, the voice of the Minotaur is distorted and low in the mix, while the keyboards square off against energetic percussion that includes steel drums and marimba along with trap drums. While it's not too hard to sort out the shifting perspectives of the tunes, it's often quite difficult to figure out what the Minotaur is supposed to be saying, which makes for a sometimes uncomfortable contrast to the soul-bearing theatricalism of Krug's tunes. Either way, This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet is an album that is sometimes compelling in its hypnotic, minimalist sonic constructs but repeats itself too often to be as effective as it could have been. And some judicious editing would have served this music well; this simply didn't need to be a double album. (And it's possible that the material would have been better served in its original form as two separate albums rather than grafted together as it was here.) There's much to admire in This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet, but the good ideas don't always sustain themselves in the execution, and perhaps the coming Spencer Krug projects will reflect a concision and clarity of focus that is not always apparent here. ~ Mark Deming