This first album in seven years from these reconvened indie rockers showcases their energetic brew of glam prog and synth rock with their signature rousing choruses and chaotic arrangements firmly in place. The years off seem to have given them a new lease of life resulting in an uplifting blast for uncertain times.
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Hi. Um. Could this be a little better, please? Thanks. I’m not about ready to let go of one of my favourite indie rock bands yet, even if their discography has already been detailing a steady decline into uselessness. Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug made one of their genre’s most exciting ever records in ‘Apologies to Queen Mary’, a toe-for-toe futurist and medieval cataclysm that wonderfully clashed their songwriting styles. They followed it up with two records with the same tension but none of the songwriting, and then split into separate camps, working their personal aesthetics without contradictions from the other.
The funnest thing about a Wolf Parade record is hearing Krug and Boeckner wrestle, and that’s the only reason ‘Cry Cry Cry’ really feels like one. Seven years on from ‘Expo’, it opens by making a point of itself, riding in on one of Krug’s decadent slices of melodrama. A piano-driven spookfest right out of his recent Moonface psalms, it follows with a punchy, straightforwardly rocking tune from Boeckner in “You’re Dreaming”, as if trying immediately assimilate their two solo styles back into the WP format. The result is a spirited and deranged collection worthy of their oldest days, but only in the choicest of places.
Unfortunately the songs are never gonna be quite as there as they used to be: the chiming, pre-festive “Valley Boy” is as nice a Krug song as he’s ever written, but it runs out of ideas quick, retaining none of the proggy, stop-start energy of earlier Wolf Parade. At his best, Boeckner makes simple, transparent rock songs sound bizarre, but tunes like “Incantation” largely sound like Spoon on autopilot. There are moments of that old-school fantasy magic -- the squelching and squirming “Weaponized” is quite glorious in its ability to play off Boeckner’s forward-momentum songwriting with odd, pantomimic change-ups -- but these moments of languishing, doubting, weird Wolf Parade feel second to a band who could playing most of these songs alone. I pray that with further listens it grows into a horrible symbiotic monster of a record.
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- Cry Cry Cry by Wolf Parade
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