Review by Ellen Eldridge
By the time a band releases its third full-length album, it has had a chance to revel in both experimentation and commercial sounds. With the drum-heavy opening of Wolf Parade’s third release, Expo 86, these four guys announce themselves with the line sung by Dan Boeckner, “I was asleep in a hammock/I was dreaming that I was a worm/I was a dreamcatcher hanging in the window of a minivan parked along the water’s edge/I’d say that I was all alone.” The guitar riff which follows the punk-sounding statement moves and draws in the listener who can’t help but toe-tap along. A quality of gothic isolation and a tone reminiscent of The Smiths fit perfectly with vocals which recall a bit of Bauhaus, but none of those elements completely describe Wolf Parade.
From the opening alone, fans can sense the rush in which Expo 86 was created with the songwriting commencing in November 2009 and the release June 29 2010. Perhaps, this exigency goes back to an idea of a pact between elementary-aged children to form a band in the 2000s; an idea which came to fruition and experienced success with the 2005 release of Apologies to the Queen Mary. The follow-up release – which came a long-awaited three years later in 2008 – can be remembered as an experiment between singer/guitarist Dan Boeckner and singer/keyboardist Spencer Krug. More driving pop can be found in the twisting melodies of “What Did My Lover Say (It Always Had To Go This Way)”and lyrics which again bring the idea of dreaming to the forefront with lines like “I don’t think I should be sorry for things I do in dreams.”
“Ghost Pressure” undoubtedly acts as the single, the song to draw in listeners and replay on radio stations. The bass line punctuates its electronic melody and allows for either deeper concentration or a feeling of floating along. Songs which allow for this floating feeling work well commercially because one doesn’t need to think too much about the song itself; it carries until listener becomes fan with the line “little vision come shake me up” repeating in mind.
For those previously unfamiliar with Wolf Parade, put on your running shoes and dance out to get a copy of Expo 86. You’ll find these songs a collection of electronically driven pop with vocal tones recalling a more brooding sound.