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Boomkat Product Review:
Wolf Parade have long been associated with Arcade Fire - partly because both Canadian bands were emergent around the same time, but in fact the band's genesis stems from Arcade Fire inviting Wolf Parade founder Spencer Krug to embark on a tour with them, and not having a band at the time, Krug contacted fellow songwriter and guitarist Dan Boeckner. Eventually a full band line-up was established, culminating in the acclaimed debut album Apologies To The Queen Mary, and Wolf Parade has been one of Sub Pop most prized acquisitions ever since. This sophomore long-player complicates the formula laid out by their first album by featuring slightly darker, more fragmented narratives. Fragmentation is inevitable to some degree given that this is a record penned by two songwriters, and both Krug and Boeckner have great pedigrees (you can hear their work in various side projects like Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs, respectively). However, the only track on which a writing credit is shared, 'Kissing The Beehive' pushes the eleven-minute mark, filled with pseudo-prog excess and segmented instrumental pomp. While this is fairly acceptable as an extended parting shot, Krug and Boeckner transpire to be far more effective when going it alone, producing memorable, lyrically enigmatic transmissions like the brilliant 'Language City' and 'Bang Your Drum', both of which avoid indie cliché thanks to a colourful use of instrumentation, whether that be the spooky dulcimer chimes of the latter, or the synth soloing of the former. Given the various other notable bands associated with the members of Wolf Parade, there's always a danger of the writing coming across as diluted or in some way impoverished as a consequence, but on At Mount Zoomer Wolf Parade have somehow avoided those pitfalls, leaving you with a more complex and intriguing piece of work than the band's debut, even if it lacks some of that record's impact on an initial spin. Highly recommended.