I’m not sure what my problem was when I first heard that Wolf Parade was releasing its fourth long player “Cry cry cry” this year. I’m still quite confounded that I didn’t pre-order it. In fact, for some reason, I even duly forgot about its imminent arrival until almost a few days beforehand. Then, on release day, a couple of months ago, I noted its arrival with something akin to surprise on Spotify and decided to give it a spin. From the opening notes, I was remembering why they are so great and by the end of the second song, I was doing what I should have done from the beginning and was ordering a physical copy for my vinyl collection.
Perhaps it was some mental disconnect, some lingering effects from the concussion I sustained earlier in the year, but in all reality, I should’ve been much more excited about this album’s arrival. I’ve been a fan since the Montreal-based, post-punk influenced four piece burst onto the scene with their blistering debut, “Apologies to the Queen Mary”, back in 2005 and followed them through two more albums and up to their hiatus in 2011. I was ecstatic when I heard that they were reuniting for a tour in 2016 because I finally got to see them live, catching their incredible headline set at the River stage at last year’s Ottawa Bluesfest with my friend Jean-Pierre.
“Cry cry cry” is Wolf Parade’s fourth album but their first in seven years, yet it plays like almost no time has passed at all. Indeed, it feels the hiatus froze them in time, bottling their energy to recharge them until they were bursting at the seams. Not that its members were idle at all, far from it. You can clearly hear that Dan Boeckner brought his experiences from working with Handsome Furs and Divine Fits and mixed them in a big salad bowl with the sounds Spencer Krug conjured during his time with Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake, all the while channelling the energy on Wolf Parade’s debut. Yes, Boeckner and Krug are still sharing the songwriting and vocal duties and this synergy works finer than ever, the jittery, frenzied rock exploding from the clash of supremacy that’s pitting synths against guitars. And in this case, we all win.
I now want to see them live again just to see how they perform these tracks because the fire burns just as bright here as anything on “Queen Mary” but don’t take my word for it. Check out “Cry cry cry” for yourself and you can start with my three picks for you below.
”Lazarus online”: The opening number is Spencer Krug and you can almost picture him at the piano, like a cross between Jerry Lee Lewis and a mad scientist, eyes closed, laying down the heavy-handed dirge of keys that back the synth enhanced track. A haunting, mystical mandala in a digital world.
”Baby blue”: This is another Krug-led track but this one is decidedly more upbeat than the opener, almost to the point where you could almost see yourself club dancing to it. The drumming is peppier and the guitars and synths build themselves into such a frenzy that at six minutes the track still seems too short.
”You’re dreaming”: My last pick is a Dan Boeckner track and while Krug’s keys feel very present, the guitars are more pronounced than on my other two picks. Of course, it’s a rocker, raw and in your face, and oh so awesome. Can be replayed infinitely without showing any rust at all.
If you’re interested in checking out the five albums that placed just outside my top ten, click here. And of course, stay tuned for album number four next Friday!