I know the length of time since Dragonslayer was released is pretty miniscule compared to the average of most WotD entries but I can't help it- I've fallen much too deeply in love with this album this summer to not write a million jillion (or a couple hundred, mundred) words about it! When Dragonslayer dropped in 2009, I liked Sunset Rubdown and the rest of Spencer Krug's work but was not fully enamored by it. Not that I felt it was lacking, oftentimes it just felt like too much and I couldn't give it the focus it asked for. Two years and almost three Krug releases later, thank God it's finally clicked.
Dragonslayer is an epic, romantic yarn. Not "epic" in the sense of a buzzword from a new Doritos ad-campaign but epic in the sense that the name of the album is Dragonslayer. Pretty much every song is a muscular machine filled to the brim with emotionally resonant moments! Krug's gotten a reputation for inscrutable lyricism- here his words remain as fanciful as ever but with an ever-present (and welcome) hand outreached to you and yours. His songwriting hasn't been simplified, just streamlined; my imagination sees a white board in the studio with "MOVEMENT" and "FEELING!!!" underlined and circled a few times at the top of the 'do not erase' section. The songs here don't dawdle, they hurdle, or gallop, or soar, or at the very least scuttle slyly before erupting in pieces like the stirring, melancholic finale of "Apollo And The Buffalo And Anna Anna Anna Oh!"
The best song of this set of some of the best songs I've ever heard in my life (IMHO!!!) is "You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)." It's danceable, it's beautiful, it's a cry-while-smiling/smile-while-crying masterpiece, as Krug makes promise after promise to a strained lover. "I'd like to have to you navigate to hills where no musicians live, and on the way decide which mendings of your will you're willing to allow," flows into "I'd like to throw this trumpet down and go on empty handed, and I'd like to think I am not one of them- but I know I am. So I'd like to just, follow you a while," and the song rolls higher and higher into a climax that even the backseat of a car can't tarnish.
I always felt Spencer Krug was brilliant, but brilliance doesn't necessarily translate to favorites. With the rise of Dragonslayer, Krug has handily become one of my favorite songwriters. Between this and his 2010 Moonface EP "Dreamland: Marimbas and Shit-drums" alone he's been taking up a whole lot of space in my head, heart, and body. To my ears, Dragonslayer is a genuine opus and achievement even from someone as endlessly prolific and ambitious as Spencer Krug. It's a blessing! Look at you go!