wolf parade- expo 86 (3/5)

Spencer Krug deserves some mega kudos for pulling a reasonably good pop record out of the mire of a terrible first impression: Expo 86’s opening offering, ‘Cloud Shadow On The Mountain,’ is a bizarre song. It sounds like suddenly Wolf Parade has become a hobby garage band playing bad covers of obscure Oasis songs on Sunday afternoons while their wives sit beside them cheering them on and gossiping about their sons’ sexy hockey coach. Fortunately for those listeners brave enough to slog through those surprising 4 minutes a pleasant afternoon of pop music meets them on the other side. The true standouts on this album fall in the middle (‘Ghost Pressure’ and ‘Pobody’s Nerfect’) and build from more contemporary indie fare on the first half of the album into a lovely pop crescendo. ‘Yulia’ is hands-down the best song on Expo 86 and there is little chance that you won’t be bobbing your head along to this lovely little track as you cycle through the hipster neighbourhoods of your town. But Expo 86 is not a great record. Wolf Parade has stopped asking listeners to ask what’s next; instead they are creating competent and interesting but not surprising indie pop music with not a synth or yelped lead vocal out of place. Apologies to the Queen Mary surprised and Krug and pals have been coasting since then.