From the minute Apologies to the Queen Mary came out a few years back I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new Wolf Parade album. I loved that record so much so that I bought everything released by all the members of the band. But, it seems as if all those side-projects sucked the life out of the band.
“Soldier’s Grin” starts out the record promisingly. It’s an upbeat song from the get-go; the kind of song that we know the band will blow you away in the live setting–and they will blow you away live–I hope.
From here, you get the best two songs on the album in succession, those being “Call it a Ritual” and “Language City.” Both songs are full of keyboards/piano bouncing heavily along, with just enough grit and clarity in the music to make them both exceptional songs. It’s at this point in the album that we find Wolf Parade at their best, with Spencer Krug yelping at his best.
From here it starts to gently slide away in the wrong direction. I’ll admit this: the chorus on the 5th track,”California Dreamer,” is really a rocking moment–once again I salivate at live possibilities–but the rest of the song doesn’t have much to it. Then you have the final good moment of the album,”The Grey Estates.” Something about Dan Boeckner’s voice is one of my favorites.
That’s it though…the remaining three tracks of the album seem to me as if the band lost some steam. The songs don’t seem to be as fleshed out musically as the previous 6, and they come off sounding like skeletons of mediocre songs, or B-sides of one of the various side-projects.
My other complaint is that the vocals have matured. They’ve lost that oddity in their vocals, which-personally-takes a lot of the really interesting moments away from the band. These fellows come off sounding half-hearted, but like I said, this is only apparent in the last three songs.
All in all, this is a record worth listening to, but I’m just not sure how many repeated listens those first few songs really garner when paired with the latter half of the album.
Rest assured, the band will bring the rock when they come to La Zona Rosa on July 25th–this is a must see. You can buy tickets for the show at this fancy place .