3 November 2017

Wolf Parade - Cry Cry Cry

Sometimes you find out about a band or singer by accident, sometimes through a recommendation or a chance-listening in a record shop.  Wolf Parade come into my life during a conversation on a message board for the other blog I write for, Bearded Gentlemen Music (great site, here is a link that you can check out once you have read this review).  From Quebec, Canada, Wolf Parade their fourth album Cry Cry Cry on 6th October 2017 on Sub Pop, about a year since the Wolf Parade EP which was their first release since coming back from a hiatus.  I would be lying if I said I was a Wold Parade fan beforehand, I had not heard of them before that conversation a few weeks ago.  No, what caught my attention was the cover – that’s right!  Even at this time of year, I am playing another round of cover roulette!  For people new to the blog, every now and then I review an album just based on the cover.  The mismatched lines on the front of the cover fascinate me, it looks like everything is being held together before it crumbles apart, it is a thought provoking cover for me.  It might mean something else altogether, but that is what I am getting from it.  However, what does the album sound like?  What is the story behind Cry Cry Cry?

01 – Lazarus Online

Starting with a heavy piano synth, “Lazarus Online” begins with a dramatic song about fan who is not wanting to die at this point, but who is aware that death is a constant companion, so why have people around who you love, as you’re not going to miss them.  It sounds like this would have been a dramatic meeting, with profound after affects for both people involved.  This is a beautiful post-rock number, it is full of insane hooks and it stays with you long after it has finished, what a brilliant introduction to this album!

02 – You’re Dreaming

I love it when a band creates some of the jolliest music, then they drape the most depressive lyrics possible over it!  “You’re Dreaming” is one of those songs, they are looking at the modern age and they aren’t impressed with the collapse of society, but the music is so catchy and joyous that is impossible not to enjoy it or to stop yourself from dancing along.  It’s a great song, one that has a powerful message and a great piece of music as well.

03 – Valley Boy

“Valley Boy” starts with a jangling guitar, very much in the style of The Smiths and the song talks about lose and bereavement.  It sorts of drifts along and it has a OTT chorus that doesn’t really work for me again the verses, same as the bridge and solo on this one.  Each section on their own is fine, but together it just feels like an old school megamix that doesn’t get gel seamlessly.

04 – Incantation

“Incantation” is another song that follows the jaunty, but steeped in misery vibe of the early song of the album, creating a conflicting vibe that is very engaging and interesting.  Sure, at first, it’s a little different and strange to get your head around it, but it is worth persevering with it.  It is so much more rewarding that your standard misery song, it has a different view and it is with a fresh perspective on what this sort of song should be about.

05 – Flies on the Sun

“Flies on the Sun” slows things down a bit, but Wolf Parade don’t cut down on the quality.  To be honest, if anything they take things up a notch.  There is a serious side to this song, one that I was half expecting to be honest and I’m glad it has turned up.  The drama of the music, the intensity of the lyrics and the overall performance give “Flies on the Bus” a shine that makes your pulse race.  It is one of my favourite songs on the album, it is an example of what happens when a band is firing on all cylinders.

06 – Baby Blue

“Baby Blue” has a few weird moments for me, there are parts that sound like Arcade Fire, parts that sound like early U2 (especially the drumming which reminds me of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” – sorry for that).  It has a load of riffs and hooks that, on paper, should not have any business being on the same album, let along on the same song.  But it all works, it sounds fantastic and I love this one as well.

07 – Weaponized

“Weaponized” is a slower number, one that doesn’t move as fast other songs on the album.  It has a different vibe as well, with a conflict and love at the centre of everything.  It’s a decent number, one which is played well, but I tend to lose a focus towards the end.

08 – Who Are Ya

“Who Are Ya” is a song about aspiration and falling short of your goals, having those dreams shattered and the frustrations that come with failure.  It is another number which should not really work that well, the keyboard is so happy, the music is dynamic, and the lyrics are so damming with a sarcastic twist in the tail.  It feels like a Ben Folds song, with a bit of Zappa synth added to the mix as well, it is a song that I cannot turn off, even if I tried once.

09 – Am I An Alien Here

“Am I An Alien Here” is a song about dreams, nightmares and how sometimes reality is more fucked up that the strange musing in your mind make you feel like an outsider.  It touches on the passing of Bowie, the rise of evil and it is all completed in a sombre style.  It is a good song, one of the strongest on the album in tone, lyrics and overall performance.

10 – Artificial Life

“Artificial Life” sounds like a new version of the Jam musically for me, it is a stomping indie song that has a dancing quality.  It is about feeling like reality does not seem real and when the end of days arrives, we would be the last to be saved (if we were saved at all).  It’s another dark song as we head towards the end of this record, but when misery and paranoia sound this good, those floods at the end of time won’t seem so bad.

11 – King of Piss & Paper

“King of Piss & Paper” ends the album on a defiant note, one about the Orange dick who is (at the time of writing) currently in the White House, about his attack on the world of art and the world in general.  It is a brilliant ending to this album, with a song that has fire in its belly and a message of defiance at its heart.  You sometimes have to pick your battles that are important to you, Wolf Parade have picked there’s and they are leaving it at the door on the way out.

Cry Cry Cry is a flamboyant record, one that sounds like a Canadian Indie cousin to the Irish legend that is The Divine Comedy.  That’s as big of a compliment as I can give to this band, they have a special something that makes them standout of the crowd, in the same way that Neil Hannon has made baroque pop his own personal calling card.  Wolf Parade are a joyous little band, one that seems to live in misery, but also loves to create beautiful music as well.  Not everything on this album is a success, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Cry Cry Cry is another cover roulette success, check out this little hidden gem of 2017.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention, and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Files on the Sun

You can purchase Cry Cry Cry on Amazon here.

You can purchase Cry Cry Cry and any other Wolf Parade Sub Pop releases from the Wolf Parade Bandcamp page here.

You can visit the Wolf Parade website here.

You can follow the activities of Wolf Parade on Facebook here.

You can stream Cry Cry Cry on Spotify here.

You can stream Cry Cry Cry on Deezer here.

You can stream Cry Cry Cry on Tidal here.

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