Wolf Parade - Expo 86
Record Label: Sup Pop
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Releasing a blistering debut and following it up these days can certainly be tough. One minute you're the hot new thing. The next minute, some poor, bored, efficiency living youngster figures out the next best manipulation on his laptop that has us all clapping along and forgetting you ever existed only a few months earlier. Sure, we'll constantly talk about how amazing your first record was, but we all know that's followed up by a general disappointment in your band's later releases.
At Mount Zoomer was that kind of record for Wolf Parade. In no way was it a bad execution of sorts, it just didn't hook us the way Apologies to the Queen Mary captured our attention with rhythmically appealing choruses, synth lines and gritty rock. For a minute there, some of us became naysayers of the band we once thought poise to be the next great standout rock act.
The charm is in the third time with Expo 86. In fact, the band not only have gotten a bit of their bite back, they also leveled it out with some of the direction taken with Zoomer. Opener "Cloud Shadow of the Mountain" is a post-punk throwback laden with keys and driving at least 10 miles over the limit. Surprisingly, we don't see this drive again until the album closes with "Cave-O-Sapien," a beautiful, heartfelt pop gem to close on a positive beat.
Most of the meat of the album lies in slower rides such as "Little Golden Age" and "Palm Road." Where Zoomer failed on toning down the energy last time around and losing an edge, they've figured out that a decrease in said speed isn't lost if backed by the necessary creative rhythms and vocal hooks. "Yulia" builds to the closest ballad since Apologies' "Same Ghost Every Night," but with a way dancier ending. Let's not forget the club bopping "Ghost Pressure" sitting as a nice intermission to the album - not too overwhelming, but fondly captivating.
Wolf Parade may have hit a slump for some of us with their last effort, but much of Expo 86 makes up for it. There are a few tracks worth skipping over to the hookier numbers on the album, but what little filler there exist doesn't leave much to gripe about. The album is a perfect mixture of the band's first two records, blended with an equal part of their rock swagger and part their post-electro swing.
Great review. I love this album, and have been jamming it since I got it. Cloud Shadow on the Mountain, Ghost Pressure, Pobody's Nerfect, Yulia, and Cave-O-Sapien are all excellent tracks, and my favorite cuts. A great album overall.