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Moonface

Critics' pick
Photograph: Tero Ahonen
Moonface

What is it about summer breakup albums that makes them so much more upsettingly good than ones released in the dead of winter? The contrast of sunshine and internal turmoil is a satisfying one that indie-rock virtuoso Spencer Krug is eager to mine. Indeed, Krug is very upset about what womankind has done to him, and he’s ready to talk about it—although not necessarily in plain terms. On With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, his third album as Moonface, Krug cloaks his pain in all kinds of bizarre allusions, and tells the kind of fantastical stories we’re used to hearing from him on projects such as Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake.

Krug’s blue-blood bark of a voice has always been one of the best and weirdest aspects of his music, although his tales of pain and suffering can come off as somewhat removed when cloaked in heady sci-fi and magical metaphors that would be at home on Game of Thrones. When he gets to the heart (or heartbreak, as the case may be) of the matter, he soars: “Shitty City,” “Headed for the Door” and “Lay Your Cheek on Down” are three of the loveliest compositions in his catalog, in which instrumental drama doesn’t overtake the universal specificity of his sorrow.

“We should have gotten smart, we should have gotten good, we should have gotten out of this town while we could,” Krug moans on “Shitty City.” There’s nothing quite like being dumped in New York City—and no better place to be when the shit goes down.—Sharon Steel

Follow Sharon Steel on Twitter: @stereostories

Buy With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery on iTunes

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