released June 29th, 2010

from the album - Cloud Shadow On The Mountain

from all music

The indie rock combo Wolf Parade formed in 2003 in Montreal, where the band's first show saw them opening for Arcade Fire. From there, bandmates Dan Boeckner, Spencer Krug, Hadji Bakara, and Arlen Thompson recorded and self-released a four-song EP, followed by a six-song recording in 2004. They eventually gained the attention of songwriter Isaac Brock, who doubled as the frontman of Modest Mouse and an A&R rep for Sub Pop Records. Brock helped the band secure a deal Sub Pop while serving as a stylistic touchstone for Wolf Parade's emerging sound, which merged indie rock with post-punk.

In July 2005, the quartet issued a self-titled EP on the label by way of introduction; their debut full-length, Apologies to the Queen Mary, followed in September. It was one of the fall's most anticipated releases, recorded as it was with Brock's help and released amid a critical flurry for such Canadian bands as Broken Social Scene, the Most Serene Republic, and Stars. After considering the title Kissing the Beehive for their follow-up (ultimately dismissed for fear of copyright infringement due to a Jonathan Carroll book by the same name), Wolf Parade issued their sophomore record, At Mount Zoomer, in June 2008. Emphasizing the distinct songwriting personalities of frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, the album reviewed warm reviews and just narrowly missed the Top 40. By the end of the following year, Wolf Parade had already begun working on a third record, and Expo 86 appeared in mid-2010.

album review

Named for a World’s Fair that exposed the public at large to the monorail, a floating McDonald’s, and Einstürzende Neubauten, Expo 86 finds Wolf Parade harnessing a darker, nervy energy on their third album. While they dabbled with space on 2008’s At Mount Zoomer, Expo 86 feels like a more open album. With reverb-soaked guitars and atmospheric synths, Wolf Parade’s music heads into a gloomier place, evoking the more gothic side of post-punk while Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug’s jittery vocals create the necessary sense of tension and drama. While this is definitely a darker album, the fuzzy synthesizers help to give the songs warmth, preventing the album from becoming suffocating. On “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)” and “Ghost Parade,” the deep buzz of Krug’s keyboards plays against the brittleness of the guitars to keep the songs from getting lost at the bottom of a trebly well. Expo 86 is more than just rainy day music, though. The album closer, “Cave-O-Sapien,” provides the album with a dynamic boost with a sound that’s uplifting in a desperate way, finishing out the album with a feeling that leaves the listener feeling like nothing was left back, that there’s no more gas in the tank, and the only thing left to do is turn off the lights on his way out.

Track Listing

1 Cloud Shadow on the Mountain Krug 4:21
2 Palm Road Boeckner 4:41
3 What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way) Krug 5:42
4 Little Golden Age Boeckner 5:00
5 In the Direction of the Moon Krug 5:46
6 Ghost Pressure Boeckner 5:15
7 Pobody's Nerfect Boeckner 5:49
8 Two Men in New Tuxedos Krug 3:09
9 Oh You, Old Thing Krug 5:46
10 Yulia Boeckner 3:46
11 Cave-O-Sapien Krug 6:18