At Mount Zoomer, Wolf Parade‘s last LP, took a while to catch on for me, and from the first few listens of Expo 86, the same has held true here. The album does feature a few of those insatiable tracks, namely the first two made available for public consumption, “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)” and “Ghost Pressure”. But many of the tracks are lingerers, tracks that will stay in the background for a short period of time before coming full circle in greatness.
This is most apparent in opening track “Cloud Shadow On The Mountain”. After perhaps a dozen listens, it went from an immediate dismissal to the eventual “Hey, this track isn’t half bad”, to the realization that what I’d been listening to is actually astonishingly brilliant. “Palm Road” began in a similar fashion but achieved realization sooner. The same can be said for more than half of the songs on Expo 86. In my opinion, this can be a good thing as being immediately awe-struck often leads to overplaying and a quick, inevitable decline.
What causes this so called lingerer effect? The band often adds in slightly awkward melodies and sounds. It dominates “Oh You, Old Thing” and it pops up occasionally in “Two Men In New Tuxedos”.
As a whole Expo 86 is more monstrous and noise-laden than prior releases, as in the closing moments of “Palm Road”. There also seems to be a greater emphasis on volume. “In The Direction of the Moon” capitalizes on this trait, dropping the excessive noise for something a bit more minimal. Combines, these two features demonstrate Wolf Parade’s extraordinary ability at generating brilliance on multiple levels.
While there is no true jaw dropper here, as found with Zoomer‘s closer “Kissing The Beehive”, Expo 86 is more than solid. In that regard, it’s more like their debut, Apologies To The Queen Mary but with the honed experience of having released two quality albums in the past five years. While “Kissing The Beehive” will likely remain atop the highest point on pedestal of great tunes by Wolf Parade, I feel entirely comfortable stating that Expo 86 is a more than worthy follow-up to At Mount Zoomer. Wolf Parade continues to impress in the most exceptional of ways.
Above photo by Sam Cecil.
Download: “Ghost Pressure” by Wolf Parade
Download: “What Did My Lover Say?” by Wolf Parade
Sub Pop [CD, 2010]
1. Cloud Shadow On The Mountain
2. Palm Road
3. What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)
4. Little Golden Age
5. In The Direction Of The Moon
6. Ghost Pressure
7. Pobody’s Nerfect
8. Two Men in New Tuxedos
9. Oh You, Old Thing