Moonface is the solo recording project of British Columbia native Spencer Krug. He’s been very active for the last ten years, playing key roles in indie bands Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, and Wolf Parade. As those bands were starting to fizzle out, Krug went out on his own to do some bedroom recording stuff. Under the moniker Moonface, he recorded an EP in 2010 and an album in 2011. I don’t have either of those records, but I understand that they’re really low-key. Keyboards, tuned percussion, and a little bit of drum machine. After those, he decided that he wanted to get back into making rock records.
A few years earlier, while Wolf Parade was touring through Europe, Krug forged some friendships with some guys in the Finnish rock band Joensuu 1685. Those guys eventually morphed into a different band called Siinai. Although the members are the same, the band is different. They’re more of an instrumental krautrock/post-rock thing. When they sent their first album Olympic Games to Krug, he knew that he wanted to find a way to work with those guys. In the end, they collaborated to make the album With Siinai : Heartbreaking Bravery. The way I understand it is that Siinai pretty much laid out the framework of the album. They recorded everything, leaving it instrumental. Krug added some piano and keys, and he added vocals. It probably should be called Siinai with Moonface, but that really is neither here nor there.
I didn’t even know that this project existed until I was prodding around the Jagjaguwar Records website looking for details about something else.
There are a bunch of great songs on the album, and this is one of my favorites:
“Yesterday’s Fire” by Moonface (with Siinai)
I love how big and stadium-filling it is. I also love the sludgyness of it. That’s pretty much all Siinai. Apart from his vocals, which are like a nice mixture of Bowie and Win Butler, I really love the piano bit that Krug added. It makes the song a little softer and brighter.
Krug said that when he started writing the lyrics, he didn’t have a plan, but he discovered part-way into it that his lyrics were all about heartbreak and doomed relationships. This one is certainly about a doomed relationship. Doomed on a bunch of levels, but there’s still some beauty in it.
A piece of fool’s gold next to an empty vase
I’m too old for you anyway.
And I know you’ll disagree
Because you know that you’re pretty when you lie
Before I go
I think I should tell you that
All the stars are dying and
Most of them are already through.
We’re just getting off on yesterday’s fire
But I never will forget,
Oh no, I never will forget about
The way we played The Fall
And broke your plates against the wall
As the sun rose
Then we fell asleep in the glass,
And then I had to go
I’m especially fond of the line about the stars dying, and how that’s obviously meant to be a symbol of the couple’s fading love.
The song doesn’t so much end as it does fade into the next song on the album — “Shitty City”. So clearly, they meant for us to listen to the album as a whole. Or at least they wanted us to listen to those songs back-to-back. In real life, I am very much a whole album listener. However, for the purposes of this blog, it’s individual songs only. So please try not to let the awkward coda ruin anything for you.
I imagine that sometime in the near future, I’ll work a Siinai song into a post. I’ve listened to a few songs from Olympic Games, and I like them.
You can buy With Siinai : Heartbreaking Bravery from the Jagjaguwar web store here.