Lauded as “arguably the most talented songwriter of this generation” by Stylus Magazine, Spencer Krug is best known for his critically well-received work with Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown.

A composer at heart, the indie rocker has stamped his signature sound across a range of diverse projects. The devout amongst his following will be aware of his whimsical collaborations with indie supergroup Swan Lake, instrumental threesome Fifths of Seven and ska (a musical genre combining Caribbean mento and American Jazz) band, the Two Tonne Bowlers.

credit: Tero Ahonen

With over a decade of performing experience, the prolific 36-year-old singer-songwriter boasts an impressive back-catalogue of 17 albums. Only 3 of them come under his current moniker, Moonface.

You could brand him a shape-shifter, because Krug’s treatment on every album he releases has been vastly different. His approach in the previous Moonface release With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery relied on his undisputed chemistry with Finnish rock band Siinai. In Dragonslayer, the 4th full length of the now-defunct band Sunset Rundown, his delightful lyrics conjured images of fire-breathing dragons (So you can take me to the dragon’s lair/You can take me to Rapunzel’s windowsill) and fairytale kingdoms (There was a black swan outside the palace/it was appointed by the king).


His latest work,Julia With Blue Jeans On, proves to be a grounding of sorts to the musician, who, over the years, has struggled between his need to have an outlet for unbridled creative impulses and writing identifiable lyrics. Krug’s direction for Julia With Blue Jeans Onis startlingly straightforward and uncomplicated, touching on themes of identity, regret and purpose, a considerable distinction from previous works of fantastical motifs and imaginative lyrics.

At first listen, diehard fans of the Canadian native’s work will find a sense of familiarity associated with Expo 86and Dragonslayer, albeit with a stripped down sound. Featuring just vocals and piano, Krug retains his signature nasal warble, and places less emphasis on layering, as the instrumentation contains a largely consistent tone throughout.

“Barbarian”, the opening song, starts off with an intricately crafted prologue, a testament to Krug’s classically trained background. It constantly switches in tempo and mood, with the piano directing the flow from softly sung lyrics to rousing chants. “Your Chariot Awaits” showcases a flurry of arpeggios and enjoyably stirring melody lines.

Krug’s lyrics, upon scrutiny, are haunting and expressive. There are no walking snakes this time. Instead, Julia With Blue Jeans On is the result of the painstaking accumulation of a lifetime of observation and reflectiveness, a mental dossier of identity and function. Through his prose, Krugs prompts thought-provoking uncertainty about self-purpose, intent and the frail nature of humanity.  “November 2011” touches on the disappointment in himself through self-deprecating lyrics (Set fire to my music/it wasn’t that much good anyway). The titular track discusses futility in artistic expression and the pointlessness of songwriting (It’s a mad man’s game/making cadences land in golden fields).

As profound as his main themes are, Krug still manages to slot in accessible numbers. “Dreamy Summer” and “First Violin” harken to nostalgic days of yesteryear, and is evocative in its lyrical composition, yet an attestation of Krug’s ability to churn out playlist regulars.

credit: Tero Ahonen

“Everyone is Noah” and “Barbarian II” could have easily been mistaken as one song, as Krug bemoans the complications of attachment (Everyone is Noah/Everyone is the Ark/Everyone has to gather souls around them to feel useful, loving and loved) in both songs. Whether intentional or by chance, the songs blurred together, making them seem like 2 parts of a continuous story told by Krug à la Pink Floyd.

A highlight throughout is Krug’s enigmatic voice. Whilst there is a heavy leaden, purposeful aspect to it, he tethers on delicacy reminiscent of wanderlust. His style is as polarising as it is an exquisite creature. UrbanWire compares him to an amalgamation of John Frusciante (ex Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Brit Tom Odell.

Whether you appreciate Krug’s music as Moonface or not, Julia With Blue Jeans On is a commendable collection. Krug may never stop evolving, whatever our reaction to it, but Julia represents the apex in self-contemplation. It is a humbling realisation of the fleeting nature of life and our fragility, presented by a muse of astute insight.

Album Details
Spencer Krug
Album Name: Julia With Blue Jeans On
Rating: 3.7/5
Language: English
Genre: Indie Rock
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Release Date: Oct 29, 2013

1. Barbarian
2. Everyone is Noah, Everyone is the Ark
3. Barbarian II
4. November, 2011
5. Dreamy Summer
6. Julia With Blue Jeans On
7. Love the House You’re In
8. First Violin
9. Black is Back In Style
10. Your Chariot Awaits