Imagine spinning the crank on a jack-in-the-box. You listen to the creepy music and you wait... and wait... and wait for the release, but it just doesn't come. And you sit there, anxiously spinning and waiting and spinning and waiting. That's kind of what Shut Up I Am Dreaming is like.
There's a lot of tension on this album, but it's constrained within some decent pop songs that are almost memorable. The music is loose and sloppy and relatively simple, but it stays together well. Neither the music nor lyrics are particularly notable, and at times it sounds like the band is trying way too hard to be clever and quirky. The album is cohesive, though, and it comes together in a way that is disturbingly satisfying. (For you Baltimoreans out there, track 9 on the EPFL copy is dead, so be prepared if you decide to check this out.)
Packaging: n/a (Altered by EPFL)
EPFL cut up the original package to fit into a jewel box, so there's nothing here except the front and back covers. There are some interesting themes (bodies being thrown into bonfires, stabbings, and lone figures praying), but without the context of the rest of the package, the artwork is dull. (Of course, the artwork may also be dull even in context of the rest of the package.)
Listen if you like: Bowie and/or Tin Machine, TV on the Radio, Kurt Weill, Wolf Parade (Sunset Rubdown's main guy, Spencer Krug, is from Wolf Parade).
If it were food, it'd be: A tasty but uninspiring meal at a hip restaurant where you're having a first date with someone who is quirky and smart and unsettled and noisy and definitely off their meds.