Wolf Parade on “Cry Cry Cry”

Fonder Hearts

Dec 21, 2017 Photography by Shane McCauley Issue #62 - Julien Baker
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A palpable disappointment coursed through the communities of contemporary rock enthusiasm when Wolf Parade decided to part ways in 2010 after their third album, Expo 86. They had romped around Canada's unofficial eleventh province of boisterous progressive rock, swinging between the invigorating polarity of frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. With drummer Arlen Thompson and bassist Dante DeCaro billowing behind them, the combination tended to awaken the primal inhibitions of punk rock fandom circa 1980. So while the sting over their absence has been soothed through their continued individual pursuits, the music spectrum has been missing a force only felt when Wolf Parade was a pack.

In their absence, hearts grew fonder and a fanbase that had expanded was over the moon last year when Wolf Parade announced a new album. All the enthusiasm came as a surprise to the group. "I'm still kind of trying to wrap my head around it," exclaims Boeckner. "Our world was really hermetic [in the past]. We even felt cut off from other bands in the same scene. Even though we were touring and selling out shows, I don't think we had a good concept of the impact we had made as sort of a cult band."

This impact was manifest in the collective blood rush throughout venues that showcased their return last year. It hit home for Boeckner during their second show back at New York's Bowery Ballroom. "It was nutty...just a fucking zoo. I was like, 'This is good, we made the right move here. This band sounds better than we did when we stopped touring.'"

"It was something of a reawakening," echoes Krug. "I realized we had some very dedicated fans. I also realized how much fun it is to play onstage with Wolf Parade and how much I had missed it. As soon as we were [performing] together it was like, 'Oh yeah, this is Wolf Parade.' It's sort of like there's this big dumb gorilla with us in spirit. He's another member that comes out. It's this sound none of us can create alone or with other bands."

Fan appreciation wasn't the only thing that grew during the time apart. Krug noticed an evolution in songwriting on Cry Cry Cry, their first album in seven years. "We became more focused in what it is to write a Wolf Parade song and how to write with each other in mind." Such awareness fostered a stylistic synthesis that binds the new material and a highlighting of the group's improved musicianship. "Everyone has this specific style of playing that I love and they've refined it," glows Boeckner. "We've all kept pushing at these edges of creativity outside of Wolf Parade, which is only good for the band."  

The palpable feeling surrounding Wolf Parade is now optimism, about a bond that time away has seemed to strengthen. "What's always been a defining component of us is that we're just friends arguing over what sounds cool and what doesn't," says Boeckner. "The difference now is that the arguments don't descend into toxic masculinity."

Krug agrees. "We're also a little less cynical and a little more grateful now.... We're enjoying playing together again. We've been back together for over a year now and it's still fun."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Fall 2017 Issue (October/November 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

 

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