Wolf Parade – “At Mount Zoomer” Review

Wolf Parade is back with their second full-length album, titled “At Mount Zoomer.” It’s refreshing to hear new Wolf Parade after having their other (fantastic) songs basically on repeat for months, so let us break it down, song by song:

1. “Soldier’s Grin

Good up-tempo song to kick off the album. Boeckner has a more mainstream sound than Krug, so I’m not surprised they went with him to begin the album. “Soldier’s Grin” is not one of Boeckner’s most fantastic jaw dropping songs ever, but it gets the job done. It has a catchy rhythm, and good lyrics (“Horse shapen fire, draggin’ stereo wire,” love that line for some reason.) But it’s not about the lyrics on paper, as Boeckner professes, it’s about the delivery. His vocals make it work, and make it worth a listen.

2. “Call It A Ritual

The song that was pre-released by Sub Pop. It could be their first single, and I think it should be. A more tame song from Krug than most Wolf Parade listeners are used to, but it’s good to hear. The song maintains a steady, linear pattern throughout, again a little unusual for Wolf Parade listeners. I think this song shows that they wanted to go in another direction with this album, not making it a carbon copy of “Apologies to the Queen Mary.” I’m glad they did that. Nothing would have been worse than hearing 10 new “Shine A Light”‘s or “I’ll Believe In Anything”‘s, re-branded.

3. “Language City

One of the better tracks off the album, with an extremely catchy melody. The guitars are simply fantastic, coming in at just the right precise moments. This song is also perfect for Boeckner’s vocals. This is “the” song for him, and he knows it too. It may very well end up being my favourite Boeckner track of all time.

4. “Bang Your Drum

People say that this song sounds like it belongs on a Sunset Rubdown album, and I have to agree, but is that really a bad thing? It sounds like Spencer Krug, what did you expect? It is one of my favourites on the album. It’s quick and to the point. It turns a corner with Krug’s first shout of “Take a dive!” and continues on it’s merry way from there.

5. “California Dreamer

The much anticipated track. People making predictions about it from grainy, poor-quality YouTube videos of live performances. They were touting it as the next greatest song. I really don’t see it like that at all. Yes, it is a very good song, but it’s not one of my favourites on the album. The “Think I might’ve heard you on the radio” chorus line helps make it one of the better songs on the album, just not the top song. It pains me to say this about a Wolf Parade song, but the lyrics are not the greatest (“I’ll be ’round, I’ll be ’round, I’ll be ’round. Like a teenager in town.”) Don’t get me wrong, I like this song, I just don’t think it lived up to the expectations I had for it.

6. “The Grey Estates

This is the song you play to people who haven’t listened to Wolf Parade before. The ultimate catchy song. Probably the easiest song to pick up and listen to on the album, and it brings an element that the album needed. Boeckner definitely experimented with some other styles with this one, and I think it worked out very well. The little switch in the tempo at the end was pulled off beautifully, and solidified it’s spot as one of my favourites from the new album.

7. “Fine Young Cannibals

Really the surprise track off this album for me. It starts off slow, and you don’t expect much out of it, but it leaves a lasting impression. For a Boeckner song, the guitars and keyboards work out surprisingly well. I really don’t know what else to write about this song, other than to check it out for yourself. If you’re a fan of Wolf Parade, it will likely leave you stunned.

8. “An Animal In Your Care

Do not be fooled by the first half of this song. It starts out painfully slow and boring. The second half is a complete other story. I was skipping over this song constantly before I read comments left by people saying that the second half is awesome. I gave it a listen and it completely changed my outlook of this song. Just another case of having to listen through an entire song before passing judgement on it. Krug absolutely did it on purpose too, almost like an intentional contrast in the middle of a song.

9. “Kissing the Beehive

Oh boy. This Krug/Boeckner collaborative effort has to be the fastest eleven-minute song I’ve ever heard. You get caught in the moment, and it doesn’t seem like eleven minutes at all. A fantastic way to end an album. “As if you didn’t know that it would sting!” There are so many levels on this song, which they are able to include due to it’s length. They could have probably split the song up into three parts, but there’s no sense in that. The whole thing together is just something you must hear for yourself.

Overall, a great job done by Wolf Parade, yet again. They kept it simple, but changed things up from their previous album. I believe that this album will not only generate new fans for the band, but also not disappoint their current fans. That’s a feat to be proud of in the music business.

Here are my favourite songs, in order. Feel free to share your own in the comments:

1. “Bang Your Drum”

2. “Fine Young Cannibals”

3. “The Grey Estates”

4. “Language City”

5. “Kissing the Beehive”

6. “An Animal in Your Care”

7. “California Dreamer”

8. “Soldier’s Grin”

9. “Call It a Ritual”

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5 responses to “Wolf Parade – “At Mount Zoomer” Review

  1. I totally agree with your post.

    Wolf Parade done it again

  2. I’m listening to the album at the moment to make up my own review as well…after a couple of listenings I admit it is great (wouldn’t expect anything else from a Canadian band!!)

  3. I agree that it is a great album, but I would disagree with some of your evaluations. Despite the wonderfully catchy chorus, I think “Bang Your Drum” is one of my least favorites; and though you criticize the lyrics of “California Dreamer,” the “la la la la” of “Bang Your Drum” is really the only moment on the album that I just don’t really like. I would actually put your 4-9 tracks as my 1-6 favorites. “Soldier’s Grin,” in particular, is the song that really sets the stage and helps make the album so effective.

    Great review, though!

  4. Although I think “Call it a Ritual” is still probably the weakest song on the album, the rest are constantly flip-flopping. “Soldier’s Grin” has made it all the way to the top of my “Most Played” playlist on iTunes, definitely a great song.

  5. Agree with you on most everything. My rankings of the songs was pretty similar to yours, though I liked California Dreamer and Soldiers Grin a bit more than you did.

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