First Listen: Wolf Parade, 'Cry Cry Cry'

Sep 28, 2017
Originally published on October 6, 2017 9:06 am

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


When the Canadian rock band Wolf Parade announced an indefinite hiatus back in 2010, its members hardly retreated into dormancy. Spencer Krug, for example, has since released a long string of albums and EPs under the name Moonface, while Dan Boeckner continued his work with Handsome Furs, started a group called Operators, and got together with Spoon's Britt Daniel to form Divine Fits. So it's no surprise that Wolf Parade — which had parted amicably after three grandly sweeping full-length albums — would eventually will its way back.

Though the group released a self-titled reunion EP a couple years ago, Cry Cry Cry is Wolf Parade's first album since Expo 86 in 2010. Befitting the creative ambition of the group's previous LPs, it serves as a full-throated burst of musical and thematic ideas. Goth-streaked album opener "Lazarus Online" pleads for survival and resiliency — "Let's fight / Let's rage against the night" — as its protagonists struggle to coexist with the darkness in their lives. "Valley Boy" storms and booms with glammy drama, referencing Leonard Cohen's death as it waxes weary about the state of the world, while "Incantation" builds from a moody murmur to climactic cacophony.

Cry Cry Cry is a big swing, artistically speaking, but it also dodges many of the pitfalls that face artists who try to chronicle an age of uncertainty and resistance without sounding ham-handed. Wolf Parade taps into the sound of modern disconcertment on Cry Cry Cry, but the album's grandiosity is mostly restricted to the music itself — rousing, urgent, and always seeking out slivers of hope.

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