Wolf Parade, the world’s best “anti-” band, is together again.
There’s a reason Wolf Parade were the shit in 2005. As much as Apologies to the Queen Mary thrust them into the very centre of the cerebral indie rock world, Wolf Parade was the anti- band that pushed against the excesses of their scene-making brethren. Wolf Parade was hungry, lean, and vociferous when their peers embraced a more-is-better ethos when it came to personnel and sound.
They were simultaneously one of the most celebrated and under-appreciated bands of the early Aughts, thanks to the songwriting acumen of its principals, Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug. Even before their official hiatus as Wolf Parade was announced, there was a bevy of side projects to satisfy the most famished fan. It didn’t seem to matter that Wolf Parade had gone into hibernation when Sunset Rubdown, Handsome Furs, Moonface, Swan Lake, Divine Fits, and Operators kept pumping out high-grade music.
Cry Cry Cry, Wolf Parade’s fourth studio album and first in seven years, arrived earlier this season with less fanfare than other highly anticipated releases from artists who first made their mark over a decade ago. Once again, Wolf Parade’s reawakening is the antithesis of the “reunion” comeback narrative Broken Social Scene have used regarding their latest record and tour. Cry Cry Cry picks up where Expo 86 left off in 2010, as if the ensuing seven year break was only seven months long. Even under the Wolf Parade banner, it was easy to sort their output into two columns: Spencer Krug songs and Dan Boeckner tracks. Those lines on Cry Cry Cry are practically non-existent. It’s the most cohesive album in their catalogue since their debut, and feels like their most collaborative effort as a band. “Weaponized”, cracking single “Valley Boy”, the resplendent “King of Piss and Paper”, centerpiece “Baby Blue” are quintessentially Wolf Parade; they wouldn’t carry the same kind of weight if released under any other moniker.
When Boeckner, Krug, drummer Arlen Thompson, and guitarist Dante DeCaro come together as Wolf Parade, they will always be greater than the sum of their parts. The impact of their absence as a band may have been dampened by their individual extracurricular projects (if you haven’t yet, check out DeCaro’s *Kill Your Boyfriend from last year), but Cry Cry Cry is a solid reminder of the embarrassment of riches possible when the world’s best anti- band gets back together again.