Damn, what the hell has happened to 2010? Where has it come and gone and where is it going to go next and honestly, could it really get any better? I mean, if we could potentially even detach ourselves from the moment – don’t see why anyone would want to anyway – don’t you believe that in some kind of objective fashion, we could say that 2010 is probably the best year for music in the past five years? Just when you’d thought we’d get to a comfortable mid-way point, we get introduced with Wolf Parade’s latest masterpiece.
And my oh my, we’ve come a long way since their last album, too. Since then Dan Boeckner and wife, Alexei Perry, created a solid follow-up in 2009’s Face Control and Spencer Krug and his crew went on to make the best album of 2009 with Sunset Rubdown’s Dragonslayer. There’s so many ways one could try and analyze Wolf Parade’s music that it makes the entire project an exercise in futility. These are magnificently talented musicians that continue to tap into each other’s musical minds like very few other bands can. Because suddenly, this isn’t your everyday super-band; Expo 86 is a brilliant reinforcement of what occurs when true chemistry exists in a band.
Everything about the decorations and the flourishing spells of music on their third album as a quartet sparkles with such skill and ease. Everything flows together in stylish fashion while still providing entirely new and inviting sounds. The songs are crammed with melody after melody and each member hones in on their strengths with a stellar pace. By the time “Cave-O-Sapien” rolls around – and you have Krug gleefully shouting away in the background, while Boeckner’s howling guitar screeches in and out of focus – you realize just how remarkable this album is.
So what makes this even more astonishing is how all-encompassing and meaningful Wolf Parade’s music truly is. They’re traditionally always working on music, regardless of whether or not it’s with each other and thus, it brings forth a group of musicians who have stayed active, have stayed hungry and have stayed, most importantly, ready. So when the time comes where Boeckner rocks in with a glittery, sliding, backwards guitar melody (and where he delivers some of his finest lyrics, “Said your heart was a swarm of bees. And they don’t and they will never leave. I hear them buzzing there invisibly”) and needs stirring vocals both on top and on bottom, Krug takes out his playbook and delivers a gem of a harmony and counter melody (“Ghost Pressure”); and on “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way),” when Krug’s keyboards drive the chorus through the midsection, it is Boeckner’s call and response that offers a substantial balance.
All of the songs, with the exception of two, are over four minutes long and they feature continuous shifts in style, theme and imagery. They’ve infused their songs with mid-sections that curtail into an entirely new key, they’ve added codas to the back-end of songs that call for them and they allow the songs the ability to instantly latch on and still, provide relentless opportunities to follow up with. Perhaps a bit too topical but everything sort of reminds me of a well-fueled, gelling national sport team. Like with anyone, especially with soccer fresh on our minds, you take the best of every single country and make up one super-team. And since every player is performing at a high level, with their professional squad and also with their national squad, everyone is always at top quality. All four members continue to make lasting impressions and everything is continually felt on the album’s overall tone.
And when talking about things that we wouldn’t really want to re-live anyways, as Boeckner croons on “Little Golden Age,” wishing for it to freeze and wishing it would never ends sounds so grandiose and gullible. Time passes and it freezes and there are spaces in between; Wolf Parade will continue to make an album almost every other year and there is no reason why they should ever stop. In the end it’ll be diverse, it’ll be dynamic, it’ll be poignant, it’ll be forceful and, it will be another downright beast of an album. Keep ‘em coming boys.
“Ghost Pressure” by Wolf Parade