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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

6.2

Wolf Parade
Expo 86

It's incredibly difficult to write about something you don't give a shit about. Seriously. I've been sitting on this review for several weeks trying to think of something, ANYTHING good to write, but every time I sat down to type procrastination/masturbation won out.

This situation for me is strange, because if this were Wolf Parade's first album, I would have had pages of material to spew out after just one listen. Apologies To The Queen Mary was one of the best releases of the last decade. The duelling song writing skills of Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner threw the listener around in a Devil's threesome, as they divided singing/songwriting duties and tried to out do each other on their respective keys and strings in what was the most exciting audible 'whose dick is bigger' comp ever pressed to record.

I would have equally been at ease lumping praise on the band's second album, At Mount Zoomer. With its release, WP pushed the boundaries of what defined their music, as Krug and Boeckner traded blow for blow before the album climaxed with the epic Kissing The Beehive. It rightfully garnered a lot of praise, made the PoA Favourite Albums Of 2008 list, and probably got everyone in the band a few gobbies.

But now we reach Expo 86. It pains me to say it, but in my opinion it sounds/feels as if Wolf Parade have exhausted their creative well as a band. Although the lead men still split up the song writing, they now play more cohesively within the band and within the songs, and seem to have lost that element of one-up-man-ship that was so defining to their sound in the earlier part of their career.

No matter how many times I span Expo 86, I couldn't find a song that grabbed me like Grounds For Divorce, I'll Believe In Anything, or Language City once did. I'm not saying it's a bad album, it's just a very 'meh' album — something I never expected Wolf Parade to be capable of. Maybe that's why it took me so long to put something to paper, as a fan I simply couldn't bring myself to admit it.

Another downfall of Expo 86 is an over tendency to 'rock out'. Mini Mars Volta like breakdowns (see Cloud Shadow On The Mountain and In The Direction Of The Moon) and flat, boring guitar solos (see Pobody's Nerfect1), fill songs with unnecessary fluff. It's interesting to note that Apologies' average track times hovered around the three minute mark, whereas Expo's leans towards five. Those extra couple of minutes really drag when there's nothing original or creative filling the gap.

I'd almost suggest that it would be better if Wolf Parade dissolved2 and Krug and Boeckner focused on making their fabulous side projects their main priorities. But again, as a WP fan, I couldn't bear to think that Expo 86 would be the band's swan song.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that and they give me something better to write about next time.

Author/Editor notes:
1. Despite the sucky solo, this song was my only highlight on the whole album.
2. This review was submitted about 16 minutes before the group announced their 'indefinite hiatus'.

Filed Under
Record Reviews
Wolf Parade
Spencer Krug

 

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