A totes change in focus! It’s like…prog-indie! Wolf Parade doesn’t write songs that’ll remind you of that time you got coked up and wandered around the Dufferin Mall anymore indie kids; it’s all downhill from here.
But seriously, indie kids, it’s still pretty good as long as you can dig that when the album opens with “In my head there’s a city at night” he’s probably talking some futuristic non-city, not Montreal or Toronto or New York at all! Thankfully, the whole thing is rather steampunk, with everything having this noir atmosphere with dampened synths. Why, you can practically make a bunch of hilarious hard boiled similes about a few of the songs!
But I won’t, because that requires a lot of thought…so, the songs are a lot longer on average, and they’re mostly about things like rituals in a dangerous desert (“Call It A Ritual”) or being soldiers in an unexplained war, and neverending cities, more Chrono-Trigger-style-2300-AD than Coruscant, for nerdly reference.
That’s a bit of a drag for me – the only song on here with anything like the first album’s personalized exposition is “California Dreamer,” the album’s centerpiece and friends leaving for the warmth of L.A., which any Canadian can understand. Also, there’s the excellent “The Grey Estates,” the most upbeat song on here with its catchy, happy-happy keyboards, that always reminds me of this time I wandered The Bridle Path (the richest area in Toronto – we saw a fox crossing a road) with my girlfriend, but it may actually be about wandering around the homes of the fantastically rich, so hey.
There are also some quite disappointing songs – what’s up with “Bang Your Drum” and the first two minutes of “An Animal in Your Care”? Why is “Kissing the Beehive” so goshdarned long? Why doesn’t “Fine Young Cannibals” do anything instead of just having a neat-o riff for its six and a half lyrics? But it’s still overall a quite pleasing album of odd topics with occasionally wonderful lyrics and catchy toons. But seriously, I’m mostly into music for the personalized crap, so I’ll always like the first album more. But don’t get bent out of shape! Just listen to the verses of “Soldier’s Grin”! Feel better again, right? Me too!