Wolf Parade

Expo 86

Released on Jun 29, 2010


Save for Broken Social Scene, Wolf Parade might be the band with the most side projects associated with it. Is there room for a joke about Canadian multi-tasking here? Maybe another time.  That being said, Wolf Parade still keeps their unique style intact while developing it with each album. Expo 86 features the same passionate vocals from Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, but the tracks have even more energy and creativity than their previous album At Mount Zoomer.

A few words on Wolf Parade albums in general—I find them near-impossible to dislike, if only because I am deeply in love with the sound of both Krug and Boeckner’s voices. If they wanted to sing along with a shitty tambourine beat for 12 tracks and call it an album, I’d probably give it a 7/10 and applaud them for experimentation.  I find their voices to be very similar, though Krug’s seems slightly more frenetic and fit for rambling and climactic 6+ minute tracks. The similarity of their tones throws me for a loop every time, because they have a pretty unique timbre compared to other singers—and yet they fit perfectly together. 

And don’t think I’m forgetting about those silly instruments that make up the rest of the tracks. A band can’t rely solely on its troubadours! The instrumental aspect of this album is ridiculous in the best possible way. Except for the first 10 seconds of the intro track “Cloud Shadow on the Mountain,” there is no uncomplicated song on Expo 86. It’s like they all practiced their instruments extra-hard over the past couple of years, and now they really want to show it off. Wolf Parade is a great rock band with lofty musical goals for themselves, and they rarely fail to reach them. If you’re looking for a slightly different sound, check out “In The Direction of the Moon” and “Ghost Pressure,” both of which have interesting electronic elements. The intro to “Ghost Pressure” is almost club-like, which is certainly a departure for the band.

Between the consistently passionate vocals and the well-developed musical talent of the band, choosing a “favorite track” is like asking a mom of three who her favorite child is. OK, perhaps it’s not that difficult—the two ending tracks “Yulia” and “Cave-o-Sapien” deserve to have their own reviews. “Yulia” is one of the only tracks on the album that clocks in under four minutes, but it still leaves a beautiful impression. On an album that thinks nothing of having most of its tracks hover around the 5:15 mark, crafting a shorter track that doesn’t fall short is a testament to the band’s ability to create musically impactful compositions no matter their length.

That being said, “Cave-o-Sapien” needs every second of its 6:19 length. For lack of a better—or cooler—word, the track is rockin’. It has everything a great anthem should—driving guitars, “oo-oo-oo” sing-alongs, and show-off vocals (try to maintain some composure around 3:30, when Krug starts to just let it rip. It’s fairly hard to.) Oh, and the lyrics? They ain’t bad: “You’re not the sunrise. You’re just alone. But I’ve got you ‘til you’re gone.” An incredible end to an artfully crafted album.

High Point

HOT DAMN, I didn’t even swoon about their lyrical prowess. This is a band that can sing about gorillas, scorpions, and tuxedos with equal aplomb. But my specific high point is, without a doubt, 3:29 to 4:22 of “Cave-o-Sapien.”

Low Point

The album is practically perfect, with nearly every track making me want to jump out of my skin. However, I’m not the biggest fan of “Oh You, Old Thing.” It just lacked a little bit of the energy that I had gotten used to on the album.

Posted by Alyssa Vincent on Aug 03, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

wolf parade, expo 86