Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Review: Wolf Parade- Expo 86
Look at that cover and tell yourself it's not the greatest thing you've ever seen! Wolf Parade are an Canadian Indie Rock Band, and if you've heard one Wolf Parade song, you've heard them all. Hell, itf you've heard one Wolf Parade song, you've heard just about every fast breaking indie rock song made. That's not to say they're a bad band or even lazy, but the thing seperating them from their own spotlight or being a crappier band like Hot Hot Heat is the shared vocal duties of Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug. Both gentleman have a croon that's easy to distinguish from most of their other counterparts.
If you're tuning in for the first time, Wolf Parade started off with "Apologies to the Queen Mary", which every other person named the best album of 2005. And while I can't say how high it ranked on any year end or decade lists, "Shine a Light" does rank as one of the best songs ever writtenm and it's hard to imagine a better written song off of a debut album. They followed that up with a sophomore slump in "At Mount Zoomer", which in all honesty, sounded like a retread of their debut. So facing a position to where they can either be titans of stadium indie rock or another group with failed expectations, Wolf Parade drop this on us, hoping to regain that strong form.
"Expo 86" is a good album, no more, no less. It's sort of lazy in how it entertains because not much is exciting and it's nothing we haven't heard before. "Cloud Shadow on the Mountain" is a promising opener, delivering the brand of break neck music and quivering singing we've come to know and love, it's a hopeful tune and starts the album off right. "Palm Road" follows, and this is where it gets dicey. Another romper stomper anthem but what kills it and the majority of the album is the heavy use of synthesizers, adding a rich layer of sounding dated. It ruins a good chunk of the songs and it suffers from "Year Zero Syndrome". For those out of the loop, Year Zero Syndrome is when an albums songs have the same formula after a promising start, it's crafted after Nine Inch Nails' shit sandwich album.
It's not to say that "Expo 86" doesn't have its fair share of great songs. "Two Men in New Tuxedos" is the shortest song on the album, but it has a depth of richness and warmth and excitement that goes along with some of the best material the band has ever written. Closer "Cave-O-Sapien" suffers from a stupid title, but it is a titan of a track that caps off what could've been a titan of an album had so many of the songs been left untouched by what almost sounds like 80's keytars.
It's not an album that is going to win their fanbase over, but would probably serve better as an introduction to the band. None of the songs match the greatness that was "Shine a Light", and they're not going to become big stars, but Wolf Parade are playing it safe for right now. Hopefully they'll take more chances next time around, but it really isn't anything to be ashamed of just three albums into their lifespan.
*** out of *****