|Wolf Parade — Cry Cry Cry (6 Oct 2017)|
Wolf Parade — Cry Cry Cry (6 Oct 2017) Ψ• Canadian indie rockers who came together around the talents of Spencer Krug (Frog Eyes) and Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs).
Ψ• Soaring choruses and stylish synth~rock fuel a satisfying reunion.
Formed: March, 2003 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Album release: 6 Oct 2017
Recording Location: Robert Lang Studios; The Noise Floor Recording Studio
Record Label: Sub Pop
01 Lazarus Online 3:25
02 You’re Dreaming 3:39
03 Valley Boy 3:38
04 Incantation 4:22
05 Flies on the Sun 3:42
06 Baby Blue 6:00
07 Weaponized 6:39
08 Who Are Ya 3:43
09 Am I an Alien Here 3:36
10 Artificial Life 3:48
11 King of Piss and Paper 4:47
℗ 2017 Sub Pop Records
• Inka Bell Artwork, Design
• Greg Calbi Mastering
• Eric Corson Engineer
• Steve Fallone Mastering
• John Goodmanson Engineer, Mixing, Producer
• Phil Hamelin Horn
• Jordan Koop Assistant
• Patrick Simpson Horn
• Chris Thompson Horn
• Wolf Parade Composer
Ψ• The soaring choruses, rousing anthems, sprawling guitars and chaotic keys that make up Wolf Parade are on proud display over the course of Cry Cry Cry, the band’s thunderous first album in seven years.
•Ψ That unique combination of sounds and influences, spearheaded by electric co~frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner — a complex yet relatable, energetic brew of glam, prog, synth~rock, and satisfying discomfort — helped define 2000s indie rock with three critically celebrated albums, and propelled a growing Wolf Parade fandom even after the band went on a then~indefinite hiatus in 2010.
Ψ• The upcoming return marks their first to be produced by Pacific Northwest legend John Goodmanson (Bikini Kill, Sleater~Kinney, Unwound) at Robert Lang Studios outside of Seattle, and is accompanied by a renewed focus and the creativity of a band that took their time getting exactly where they needed to be. It’s also a homecoming to Sub Pop, which released all three of the band’s previous albums.
•Ψ “The band itself is almost a fifth member of the band, something more or at least different than the sum of its parts,” says Krug. “We don’t know who or what is responsible for our sound, it’s just something that naturally and consistently comes from this particular combo of musicians.”
Ψ• “Once we got back together, I was playing guitar, writing and singing in a way that I only do while I’m in Wolf Parade,” says Dan Boeckner, who shares primary lyrical and singing duties with Spencer. “It’s just something that I can’t access without the other three people in the room.”
•Ψ In the time apart, the band scattered geographically and focused on family and other work — Spencer on his solo project Moonface, Dan on his bands Handsome Furs, Operators, and Divine Fits (with Spoon’s Britt Daniel), and Dante De Caro on records with Carey Mercer’s Frog Eyes and Blackout Beach. And that time allowed for an even stronger, tighter band to emerge.
Ψ• Eventually, Spencer, Dante, and Arlen found themselves all back living on remote Vancouver Island, accompanied by a population density less than that of Alaska, and the tranquility that leads to creative emanations like a government~sponsored bathtub race. With Dan on the same coast in Northern California, discussions began about picking things up where they left off.
•Ψ “All of our albums are always a reaction to our last one,” says Arlen. “Expo 86 (2010) was about as sparse as we get, which is usually still pretty dense, and this time we wanted to make the palette a little larger.” Adds Dante, “Expo was a real rock record. We just sort of banged it out, which was kind of the point.” Cry Cry Cry, on the other hand, is more deliberate in its arrangements and embrace of the studio process. “If a part was going on for too long it would get lopped, you know?” says Dan. “That being said, there are two very long songs on the record and I don’t think it would be a Wolf Parade record if it didn’t have some kind of prog epic.”
Ψ• “I think we’re actually a better band than we were when we stopped playing music together,” says Arlen. “A little bit more life experience for everybody, and people having made a bunch of records on their own.”
•Ψ The result of this new consciousness is songs like “Valley Boy,” a Bowie~inflected anthem for which Spencer wrote lyrics after Leonard Cohen died the day before the 2016 election (“The radio’s been playing all your songs, talking about the way you slipped away up the stairs, did you know that it was all gonna go wrong?”). “You’re Dreaming,” also influenced by the election and the spinning shock that followed, is driving, urgent power pop that draws from artists like Tom Petty and what Dan calls one of his “default languages” for writing music. The swirly, synth~heavy crescendo of “Artificial Life” takes on the struggle of artists and at~risk communities (“If the flood should ever come, we’ll be last in the lifeboat”).
Ψ• The album carries a sense of uprising that is not unrelated to Wolf Parade’s renewed determination to drive the band forward in uncertain times. Welcome to Cry Cry Cry.
•Ψ All right, Let’s fight, Let’s rage against the night — “Lazarus Online” (Spencer Krug)
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming; Score: ****
•Ψ After seven years away from the recording studio, Wolf Parade have picked up where they left off, sounding confident and full~bodied on their fourth studio effort, 2017’s Cry Cry Cry. As before, Wolf Parade approach indie rock with the sense of drama of a prog rock band, reinforced by the operatic quaver of Spencer Krug’s vocal work and the grand ambitions of the keyboards by Krug and Dante DeCaro. Despite their hiatus, Wolf Parade sound fresh and invigorated on these 11 songs, with the healthy snap of Arlen Thompson’s drumming keeping the proceedings lively even when the group slinks into a languid mood on “Flies on the Sun” or aims for a moody effect on “Lazarus Online.” (DeCaro’s bass work is more subtle in the mix, but no less strong in execution.) While the group references a few of the major events that took place since Wolf Parade last made an album — the death of David Bowie on “Valley Boy” and the passing of Leonard Cohen just as Donald Trump was rising to power in “You’re Dreaming” — most of the time the group seems to be looking inward, albeit with an intelligence and sense of purpose that prevents the material from seeming solipsistic. Dan Boeckner’s guitar is often dwarfed in the mix by the keyboards, but he adds a crunchy texture that lends an added weight and heft to these songs. And the production by John Goodmanson is an ideal match for the material, giving these performances the right amount of gravity without making this music sound swollen or pompous. Feeling strong and fit after their layoff, Wolf Parade don’t sound like a band convinced they have something to prove on Cry Cry Cry — it quickly announces that they’re as capable and creative as ever, and the finished product is as strong as anything they’ve released to date.
STEPHEN THOMPSON, September 28, 20175:00 AM ET
Ψ• When the Canadian rock band Wolf Parade announced an indefinite hiatus back in 2010, its members hardly retreated into dormancy. Spencer Krug, for example, has since released a long string of albums and EPs under the name Moonface, while Dan Boeckner continued his work with Handsome Furs, started a group called Operators, and got together with Spoon’s Britt Daniel to form Divine Fits. So it’s no surprise that Wolf Parade — which had parted amicably after three grandly sweeping full~length albums — would eventually will its way back.
Ψ• Though the group released a self~titled reunion EP a couple years ago, Cry Cry Cry is Wolf Parade’s first album since Expo 86 in 2010. Befitting the creative ambition of the group’s previous LPs, it serves as a full~throated burst of musical and thematic ideas. Goth~streaked album opener “Lazarus Online” pleads for survival and resiliency — “Let’s fight / Let’s rage against the night” — as its protagonists struggle to coexist with the darkness in their lives. “Valley Boy” storms and booms with glammy drama, referencing Leonard Cohen’s death as it waxes weary about the state of the world, while “Incantation” builds from a moody murmur to climactic cacophony.
Ψ• Cry Cry Cry is a big swing, artistically speaking, but it also dodges many of the pitfalls that face artists who try to chronicle an age of uncertainty and resistance without sounding ham~handed. Wolf Parade taps into the sound of modern disconcertment on Cry Cry Cry, but the album’s grandiosity is mostly restricted to the music itself — rousing, urgent, and always seeking out slivers of hope.
• 2005 Apologies to the Queen Mary Sub Pop
• 2008 At Mount Zoomer Sub Pop
• 2010 Expo 86 Sub Pop
• 2017 Cry Cry Cry Sub Pop
|Wolf Parade — Cry Cry Cry (6 Oct 2017)|