Review Summary: Expo 86 is like a good day at a boring job.
The first time I heard Wolf Parade was 3 years ago when a friend at work gave me a list of the ten albums he’d take if he were to be stranded on a desert island for all of eternity. On that list, other than some obvious records like Kid A and Loveless, was Wolf Parades’ debut Apologizes To The Queen Mary
. Intrigued by the fact that it was one of the only records on his list I had not heard I went out and got it. I was hit with a wave of catchy, anxious indie songs that won me over from the first listen. Led by the trade off vocals from the yelping keyboardist Spencer Krug and guitarist Dan Boeckner, the album quickly became the soundtrack to my summer. Later on, when At Mount Zoomer
was released, I bought it on the release day and eagerly biked home to listen. What I heard was a more focused version of the band, which was not a bad thing, but it was like they tightened all the loose ends in their sound that made them so loveable.
When Expo 86
was announced I was optimistic that it would be a really good album. Spencer Krug’s last album, recorded under his moniker, Sunset Rubdown, showed him hitting a creative peak in his music that I thought would lend a large hand in making Expo 86
the record that would save them from becoming another indie band with an amazing debut and nothing to follow it up with. I picked up the record and once again eagerly got home to listen to the album that was going to rescue Wolf Parade from becoming one of “those” bands. I carefully placed the needle on the record and paced back and forth while the first few seconds of silence passed by…
For the next 55 minutes I sat, only getting up to flip the records, and listened to the next step towards the end for Wolf Parade. Their once emotion filled songs were traded in for generic sounding filler tracks, and that’s all it was. Filler. Gone was the excitement, and with it went all the creativity. Krug’s vocals seemed half hearted and Arlen Thompson’s drumming lacked its one eclectic personality. By the end of the Side A (that’s track 3 for all you following on mp3/cd) it was already starting to drag, the only highlight being the opener “Cloud Shadow on the Mountain”. From then on, listening to the next 40 minutes of the record was like staring at a white ceiling, only not on any psychedelics. Although the songs were bland and forgettable, they were not memorably terrible either. When the last side of the record came to a stop, I got up and went on with my day forgetting about the album for the most part.
is like a good day at a boring job. When you get off work and carry on with your day the time you spent at work becomes a blur. It’s not to say that this time you’ll soon forget is bad, it just was anything special. Your day at work could have been worse, you didn’t get yelled at by any customers or the boss, but you also could have been practicing that new song for the gig on the weekend. It’s the time that is bland and forgettable, but also not bad enough to be memorable that fills the gaps in our memories.