Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer Review
Originally written in 2008
With almost three years since the release of Apologies to Queen Mary, this new album was a long time coming. With the many side projects sprouting from both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner I feared this day would never come. The long wait has done its toll for some who seem dismissive of the album even before giving it a listen. It appears for them, Wolf Parade is no longer relevant to indie music. Some fans are fickle I suppose, but if that’s how you feel, than I think fan isn’t the right choice of word to describe you. Whether or not Wolf Parade is relevant today depends entirely on At Mount Zoomer. I think I will give it a listen before coming to any conclusions.
Just like Apologies to Queen Mary, their new album is a grower. It took a while before I fully appreciated their first album and At Mount Zoomer seems to follow suit. While it definitely sounds like Wolf Parade, it also sounds heavily influenced by their side projects, Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs. They have grown in the last few years and they bring this to the new album. Even though my appreciation for At Mount Zoomer grew more quickly, my initial reaction was that Apologies was the better album. It was interesting going back to listen to their old record after spending so much time with Zoomer. I actually started to appreciate their new one even more. Gone is that push, pull feeling one gets from listening to Apologies. It appears a side project was what the two needed to do before they could work together as cohesively as they do on Zoomer.
At Mount Zoomer has a more polished subdued sound and lacks that bold rough sound their first had. What it does have is a good flow; the changes between Dan’s and Spencer’s tracks are less jarring and distinct. Wolf Parade’s sound has never been more focused and fine tuned than it is on their new album. Much like their first this is yet another album that’s best consumed as a whole with each track lacking punch when separated from the pack. But even so there are some stand out songs on the record, none more brilliant than Kissing the Beehive. This final track on the album is more than 10 minutes long and really captures what Wolf Parade is capable of. Their most single friendly track wound be Fine Young Cannibals, much more so than Call It a Ritual, which was made available online prior to the release of the album. An Animal In Your Care is Spencer’s best writing moment on the album. Spencer is a fantastic writer but he takes a backseat to the brilliant writing done throughout the album by Dan. Going back to cohesiveness, in the final minute of The Great Estates they really showcase this brilliantly.
Kissing the Beehive was initially chosen as the title for the record before finding out it was also the name of a Jonathan Caroll novel. The new title was taken from drummer Arlen Thompson’s studio where the album was recorded with care and precision. This is an album that only gets better as it progresses, building well to the grand finale. If you’re a fan of any of Dan and Spencer’s previous work, you will definitely enjoy this album. If you aren’t a fan, there’s nothing really new here that’s going to change your mind. But I would recommend you give it a serious listen and try to put past any preconceptions you may have. At Mount Zoomer is a brilliant album and will surely keep the name Wolf Parade relevant for at least another three years.