By Daniel Spiller
In 2005, the Canadian band Wolf Parade released their debut album Apologies to the Queen Mary and received acclaim from critics and music-lovers alike.
The pop was poppy and the rock was rocking; it was definitely hard to complain about the album when everything was so likeable.
On June 16, Wolf Parade released the follow up to their brilliant first outing.
At Mount Zoomer keeps the Wolf Parade sound the indie world has grown to love, but Spencer Krug and company have started to experiment and expand.
The album opens with “Soldier’s Grin,” a song that should appeal to fans of the first album since it keeps their familiar pop sound and charming synthesizer/guitar lines. It is a safe way to ease listeners into an album that will deviate from the straightforward rocking that was prevalent in the first.
The album hits its peak with “California Dreamer,” an epic song that utilizes all of Wolf Parade’s assets and clearly understands the power of momentum.
The chorus alone, near the end of the song, is powerful enough to destroy planets.
“California Dreamer” is followed by another poppy, classic-sounding Wolf Parade track, “The Grey Estates.” Though “California Dreamer” would have you believe no other song could ever live up to its grandeur, “The Grey Estates” luckily doesn’t even try to. Instead, it just keeps things moving along with something catchy.
But then the album does something funny. Instead of cruising through and hammering it home, the band hits the brakes and follows with two slower songs that never really find their hook.
While the songs are far from bad, they just feel unjustified.
“Kissing the Beehive,” the closer, is a lengthy endeavor. It is sprawling and inventive, but unfortunately still forgettable.
Overall the album is a worthy successor to such an impressive debut; it has mostly good songs with a few that are great.
The experimentation with new styles occasionally works (“Call it a Ritual”), but Wolf Parade still shines brightest when they stick with what made them so great to begin with – pop songs that totally rock.