Wolf Parade is set to release their third album in late June under the titled Expo 86. As a band that has been around since the mid 00s, Wolf Parade has made little headway in terms of mass popularity. But that is kind of what makes them so great, they are like this little indie secret, and don’t say it isn’t so. Ask a passerby on the street if they know what a Wolf Parade is, and they will look at you with a certain degree of confusion and fear. It is safe to say that Wolf Parade is among other innovative bands that work to bring out quality music. Sadly not many people are willing to pay much attention to this band steeped electro-rock.
Expo 86 is impressive as a whole but there are standouts on this album, the dizzying synth interlude of Palm Road comes at just the right moment in the song and is up there with some of their best tracks like Shine A Light and Modern World. The more surreal has crept into the lyrics of this album, more so than with the previous ones, no doubt in part due to Krug’s recent success with his neo-psychedelic band Sunset Rubdown. Disagree? Just listen to the first track on the album, Cloud Shadow on the Mountain then ask yourself what you would do if you were “a dream catcher hanging from a minivan, parked along the waters edge”. Little Golden Age melody is particularly interesting, the non-harmony (they don’t exactly blend) of the dual lead singers, the contrast between their voices, as always, articulates what makes this band distinct and an acquired taste, and with most things that take time to acclimate to Wolf Parade grows more interesting after multiple run-throughs. This album is much different in musical coherence and chemistry in comparison to the band’s 08’ release of At Mount Zoomer. At Mount Zoomer, at its worst though, was its lethargic addition to the Wolf Parade catalogue, though the album was not without its charm, it pails in comparison to Expo 86. This album is an example of the band being back in top form. They (Krug and Boeckner especially) seem to have taken the positive developments from their solo projects and reinvented Wolf Parade as a heartier beast of a musical group. You can feel the best parts of Handsome Furs in the Boeckner heavy tracks and the same is true for the tracks with Krug taking center stage (very Dragonslayer).
The title of the new album Expo 86 refers to the world Expo of 1986 in Vancouver B.C. Canada where the majority of the band’s members are from. This title is likely a symbolic gesture since many members of the band attended that World Expo as children, pointing out to those who thought the band was over due to the success of side projects that it wasn’t. The side projects we are taking about here are Boeckner’s Handsome Furs (Plague Park and Face Control) and Krug’s Sunset Rubdown which brought us the critically acclaimed album Dragonslayer. But judging by the music of the new album all signs indicate that the band has rediscovered common ground and has rallied back for their third album. If you are only going to listen to a hand full of albums this year make Expo 86 one of them.
Note: You how when you really like something you want to have more of it? Well, the associated acts that make up the credentials of Wolf Parade are quite impressive, these men, particularly the vocalists Krug and Boeckner, can’t help but make music, which means there is an impressive extended catalogue that might not have Wolf Parade’s namesake but bares its marks. Through various incarnations members of the band have found several outlets for their dissident sounds.
1 - Cloud Shadow on the Mountain
2 - Palm Road
3 - What Did My Lover Say (it always had to go this way)
4 - Little Golden Age
5 - In The Direction of the Moon
6 - Ghost Pressure
7 - Pobody’s Nerfect
8 - Two Men in New Tuxedos
9 - Oh You, Old Thing
10 - Yulia
11 - Cave-O-Sapien
The album starts off by lulling you into believing that you have by accident put in a Fleet Foxes album as the track Blue Blood begins in that style only to evolve into a more Foals like creation. The album moves in waves, receding only to later burst in a poppy barrage guitars and synth rhythms. Definitely a solid second act for the band.