May 24, 2010

I’ve Got A Sand Castle Heart, Made Out Of Fine Black Sand...

So, I was sitting here minding my own business, not up to much at all. Then it happened. "Expo 86" 'leaked'. The new Wolf Parade album was available to the masses. We were excited and delighted. To be sure we would buy the album when it is released at the end of June, but it was impossible to not listen NOW. Again and again. So much that I thought I would share my initial thoughts on the music at hand. Now as you may know my love for all things Wolf runs very deep, so I wondered if it was possible to judge without bias. To provide an objective view. Which is very hard because the one thing that makes music such an enticing medium is the connection it provides. The hot wire to the heart. It makes us go fuzzy inside and out. It is not meant for cold and cool calcualtion. It is meant to inspire and ignite us. So I listened to "Expo 86" with ears wide open and did my best to be a critic. And my verdict. It is great. I do love it and I am not afraid to admit it. Wolf Parade has once again stoked my fire.

If you begin your career with an album as seismic as "Apologies To The Queen Mary", then there is a great chance you will forever be living in its shadow. It is inevitable. But I find each subsequent comparison to be redundant. Let's live in the moment and enjoy the music for what's its worth. For the record though, their debut album is my favourite record of all time. Their second album "At Mount Zoomer" I thought was an immense achievement too. In some ways a more complex album, if not a better one. "Expo 86" I think sits proudly somewhere in between. As has been noted this album, except for vocals, was basically recorded live to tape. Giving it an immediacy that is downright explosive. It also gives weight to this band's two greatest strengths. Euphoria and freshness. Wolf Parade's music is totally and utterly euphoric. It thrives on moments that explode from the speaker. Each part of the musical fabric is expored and then torn apart, leading to second after second where the impulse is to jump off your chair and move those hips. Trust me, I do it. The other aspect is freshness. They are not going through the motions, you can feel the band trying their utmost to invent new sounds and experiences. Songs that just keep on giving and giving. This album also feels like a united band experience. Each of the foursome have their hands over each and every tune. But of course there are two distinct lead singers and each of their songs have their stamp fully on it as well. For what its worth the 'Dan' moments might even be better than the 'Spencer' moments and that is saying something, considering my devotion to the Krugian world. "Pobody's Nerfect" is my definite highlight. This song absolutely rocks. HARD. As does most of the album. It creates and deflates momentum with reckless ease before ascending to a euphoric climax. It also features fearless drumming from Arlen Thompson, which is also a great part of this album. Thompson's drumming is often ferocious and definitely essential to the overall sound. I also love the rhythmical cycle of the infectious "Palm Road" and the yearning nature of "Yulia". Those three songs are clear favourites at the moment. Next up is the emotional power house of "In The Direction of the Moon". 'You are the most gracious thing I know, touched by crooking flowers touched by snow'. Enough said. "What Did My Lover Say" is also huge fun, containing that famous thumping Wolf Parade sound. "Little Golden Age" is as single ready as this band might ever become and "Ghost Pressure" is sure to become a live favourite. Right now the only song that is not doing much for me is "Two Men in New Tuxedos". For a master of melody Krug has written something that is quite plodding and mechanical. So it's not perfect, but it's not far off it. It is a reminder that this band still makes special music. It is music to dance to. To invest in. To celebrate of. To feel and to be excited by. They still have it.

MP3: What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)-Wolf Parade

2 Comments:

  • At June 02, 2010 , Anonymous Bill said...

    Great review... you had me going there in the introduction, making me think you might not have liked it, but then you did haha. Well done.

    I think I agree on just about every point. I really love it, I like it a lot more than At Mount Zoomer, which didn't hold up for me as well as Apologies (which is definitely one of the all-time best albums by any band). "Cave-o-sapien" is the song I'm playing the most, but otherwise I agree, my next 3 or 4 favorite tracks are all Dan songs which is a little shocking to me, but I kind of feel like with the last two albums, WP is becoming more Dan's band, or that the songs are more to his style and the truly Krug-ian ones Spencer is writing for Sunset. I don't know. There's a couple truly forgettable tracks on Expo 86, in my opinion, and they were both written by Spencer, so that is upsetting a little. But really, that's the only downside. The Dan parts are all perfect. And "Cave-o-sapian" is a masterpiece. Hmmm. I think I'm going to use this comment as a blog post of my own haha.

     
  • At June 02, 2010 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Bill I think AMZ had a couple of songs that were better in Language City and Kissing the Beehive, but as a whole I think Expo 86 definitely is a better album. I do agree with your thoughts about WP becoming more Dan's band. They are definitely a flat out rock band and that seems to suit Dan's style better. I also agree with you about Cave-o-sapien, but my fav Spencer song on this album is What Did My Lover Say.

     

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