An epic ending to a brilliant solo saga
Moonface is comprised exclusively of the multi-talented Canadian musician, Spencer Krug, who has had a prosperous career spanning two decades in numerous bands, like Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, Swan Lake, Fifths of Seven and most notably, Wolf Parade. Opening for Arcade Fire’s national tour in 2003, Krug has been most prominently recognized for his work as a vocalist and keyboardist for Wolf Parade, but he is also known for his gifted songwriting abilities.
Loving a good narrative, this final Moonface album really transcends all of Krug’s previous albums under the same moniker, which tend to concur under a specific motif. No two Moonface albums are alike, however, due to Krug’s multi-talented musical abilities and quirky nature which allow him to create whatever he wants. And he always seems to know exactly what he wants.
Leaning away from his heavy electronic emphasis placed on previous Moonface work, like 2011 EP, Organ Music not Vibraphone like I’d Hoped, and away from heavy piano ballads, which make up the entirety of Julia With Blue Jeans On, Krug finds his own style and rhythm which he dedicates himself to in This One’s for the Dancer & This One’s for the Dancer’s Bouquet.
Krug takes inspiration directly from the classical Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which one of Zeus’ many sons, King Cretan, asked for Poseidon’s favor to be shown to him in the form of a bull emerging from the sea. When this bull emerged, he kept it instead of sacrificing it to the gods, to which he was punished for when the gods instilled a burning passion for this divine bull in the king’s wife Pasiphae. As in many Greek myths, bestiality was no taboo, and Pasiphae mated with the bull. This produced an offspring which was half-human and half-bull, referred to as a “Minotaur,” the first being named Asterion and being hidden away in a labyrinth, who was fed fourteen humans every nine years. Here, Moonface outlines the concerns and frustrations of this minotaur, a beast upon land.
Beginning with “Minotaur Forgiving Pasiphae,” deep echoing vocals and an electronic voice overlap with a soft marimba beat, which listeners of Moonface will appreciate throughout the album. Taking on the persona of the minotaur, Krug establishes an inner monologue which plagues the beast in songs which carry this confused and heartbroken theme throughout the album, titled: “Minotaur Forgiving Knossos,” “Minotaur Forgiving Theseus,” “Minotaur Forgiving Daedalus,” “Minotaur Forgiving the White Bull” and finally, “Minotaur Forgiving Poseidon.” In these songs, Asterion the minotaur narrates his forgiveness of the myth’s key players, calling out to Pasiphae, “You were an instrument of vengeance, he had no name,” referring to his beastly father, the White Bull. He also forgives the man who built the walls of the labyrinth which imprisoned him for all of eternity, Daedalus, by humorously repeating, “You made a labyrinth when you could have just made a door. You made a labyrinth when you could have just dug a wide hole…”
Intermixed between these ballads of angst and forgiveness are “The Cave,” “Last Night,” “Aidan’s Ear,” “Sad Suomenlinna” and “Walk the Circle in the Other Direction,” which all seemingly juxtapose the reality of life with the mythologized reality of true ancient societies.
Never shying away from the marimba and piano, this album features the essential entities of Krug but is driven mostly by witty narration, funky beats and a dark undertone. Having made three previous albums under this moniker alone, Krug stated, “I never made an album under [Moonface] that I was embarrassed by, and this is one of my favorites, so I may as well get out while I still can, on a personal high note to boot.”
As a final offering to his audience after an array of diverse sounds from Moonface, this album is essential listening for all fans of Spencer Krug’s work as well as geeks of classical Greek mythology. Minotaur forgives you, Krug.