At Mount Zoomer
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Three years later, Wolf Parade’s breathless debut Apologies to the Queen Mary is as exhilarating and, by Canadian indie-rock standards, charged as the day it came out. Follow up At Mount Zoomer doesn’t reach that peak, but it isn’t much trying. The record is careful, a mature follow-up to Apologies’ brash adolescence. If the interval between albums had been much shorter, you’d probably say this would be the one with the real staying power.
Part of it is the recording: It sounds more professional. The drums are mixed down and don’t have that ragged, recorded-in-a-concrete-closet feeling. The record has more interest in melody– guitars are used as paint instead of gasoline. Keys are turned up, even on partially driving songs such as “Bang Your Drum” and “Call It a Ritual.” The tightened-down craftsmanship means the album flows with fewer seams, but tracks such as “Language City,” which changes suits between classic and art-rock, like, four times, and “California Dreamer,” which sounds like it could’ve been an Apologies cast-off, stand tall. It adds up to a band that isn’t afraid to grow, and a reassurance that it’s also not one to burn out– which, by all rights, Apologies to the Queen Mary practically predicted.