Side projects should be taken with a grain of salt, but in this case Spencer Krug's Sunset Rubdown is one worthy of investigation.

Side projects should be taken with a grain of salt, but in this case Spencer Krug's Sunset Rubdown is one worthy of investigation. Krug's "real" band, Wolf Parade, received well-deserved acclaim in indie circles last year, which should help push this project into the limelight in 2006.

Krug draws listeners in with his brash voice, which conveys the lyrics with a sense of urgency. However, Sunset Rubdown is less manic than Wolf Parade. In fact, Krug sounds a bit eerie on tracks like the organ-heavy "I'm Sorry I Sang on Your Hands That Have Been in the Grave" and the Palace-esque "The Empty Threats of Little Lord." The softer side of Wolf Parade echoes at times, most notably on the lengthy "The Men Are Called Horsemen There," but for the most part, Krug is concentrating on getting the last word in on whoever he's breaking up with.

"Shut Up I Am Dreaming" is a grower, and doesn't grab you by the ears like Wolf Parade's debut did. But if you spend time with this you'll come to realize that Spencer Krug could easily be the next indie icon: his songwriting has that special depth that the intellectuals crave. -- Michael D. Ayers