Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer (Sub Pop)
Not to repeat myself, but I was prepared to be disappointed by the follow up to the immensely satisfying Apologies to the Queen Mary. Well, I needn’t. At Mount Zoomer is almost completely devoid of a single, lacks the “naive, anthemic bluster” of its predecessor, rocks just a little bit less than …Queen Mary, and comes packaged in one of those shitty paperboard sleeves that’s impossible not to damage the first time you open it. Which is all to say that it’s just as good as Wolf Parade’s debut. I’d stop short of calling it better, because as debuts go, theirs was stupefyingly good. Zoomer is more of an album, though, in that it hangs together all of a piece, and several songs feel as though their primary purpose is to set a tone for the big set pieces (California Dreamer, Kissing the Beehive). All in all, it’s compelling, the rare album demanding a front-to-back listen in a way that’s commendable – weren’t we supposed to have witnessed the death of the album several times over by now? Wolf Parade didn’t make a second installment of their debut, though that would have been an achievement in itself. What they did instead was to grow up a bit and produce an incredible record shorn of the urgency of its antecedent, but one which is nevertheless deeper, more nuanced, and more patient. In short, they followed up one triumph with another, completely different one. I can’t wait to see what they do next.