Monday, April 6, 2009

Swan Lake

Enemy Mine (3.09, Jagjaguwar)

Byline: Canadian supergroup that is exactly the sum of it's parts, and that's a good thing.

For: Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, Destroyer...Duh

A trapping that most music writers fall into, myself included, is the overuse of the adjective "masterpiece". I know the feeling of the immediate rush and infatuation that comes with the promised delivery of an over-hyped album or a completely original discovery that brings along the same type of exultant pride that I'm sure a father feels when his son hits a line drive in Tee-ball. The immediate response is to label the album as either the end-all-be-all of a subcategory or an exploration into a previously unknown musical vista. It is a "masterpiece" right, at least until the next masterpiece comes along. So, I am going to try to avoid this repetition and call Swan Lake's new album as a "great album", a "competent album", an album with a lot of expectation and a lot of payoff. Swan Lake, of course, is the partnership between three of the most original musical visionaries in independent music today, the batting order goes like this: Casey Mercer of  manic front man of Frog Eyes, Spencer Krug, the prolific mastermind behind Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, and Daniel Bejar, the hyper literate poet known as Destroyer and member of that other Canadian supergroup The New Pornographers. The partnership, sustained by a cordial friendship and desire to push the limits of fractured pop songs and virtuoso playing avoids the pitfalls of previous supergroups, the desire to transcend the parts of the sum and play something completely different. The great thing about Swan Lake is they sound exactly how they would sound like if Casey, Spencer, and Daniel got together and made a record, each member doing what they do best, nobody pushing or pulling for space. This  individualistic spirit is not lost in the communal vibe of "Paper Lace" and "Warlock Psychologist" where all members are on the same page creating a beautiful racket. A far cry from 2006's frustrating Beast Moans. 

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