PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Wolf Parade: Cry Cry Cry

Photo: Shane McCauley

Canadian quartet return with a proggy, synthy, arty, indie wake up call.

Wolf Parade

Cry Cry Cry

Label: Sub Pop
US Release Date: 2016-10-06
UK Release Date: 2016-10-06

In 2005, Canadian quartet Wolf Parade released its debut album Apologies to the Queen Mary, a virtually flawless collection of songs where opposing styles created a whole even greater than the sum of its wonderful parts. Over the course of its next two albums, 2008's At Mount Zoomer and 2010's Expo '86, Wolf Parade continued exploring a signature sound fashioned from the best aspects of prog, art rock, and American indie, and shot through with scads of off-the-wall synthesizers. It may look strange on paper, but the results sounded shockingly cohesive. Some would likely argue that Wolf Parade's formula peaked with At Mount Zoomer, but those who do should take note because Wolf Parade's latest, Cry Cry Cry sees the band back at what it does best at a time when we need it most.

Lyrically, past Wolf Parade releases have expressed a dissatisfaction with modern society. The band's dexterity with this sort of subject matter makes co-frontmen Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug welcome commentators on current events. In a 2016 interview with PopMatters, the metaphorically-minded Krug mentioned an interest in and aspiration toward straightforward, politcally-driven lyrics. Although Krug's lyrics are still very much his exhilarating and unpredictable own, it's not difficult to guess which figure in power is being referred to on Cry Cry Cry closer “King of Piss and Paper". The same goes for single “Valley Boy", with its overt Leonard Cohen references. When one artist references another in song, the outcome can sometimes feel trite, but “Valley Boy", with its Television-esque guitars and nervy vocals, steers clear of being a sentimental homage yet still retains a touching sincerity.

But this is not just Krug's show, and Boeckner fronts a handful songs as powerful as any on ...Queen Mary or At Mount Zoomer. “You're Dreaming" is an early album standout with a powerful shout along chorus, “Flies on the Sun" is Modest Mouse-y without sounding like a throwback, and “Artificial Life" is a storming wake up call to the ways we are being played by those in power. Boeckner and Krug are both passionate singers, and their final statements on Cry Cry Cry -- the aforementioned “Artificial Life" and “King of Piss and Paper" -- sound like warnings sung by two men being dragged to the gallows.

Some heavy lyrical content aside, Cry Cry Cry is perhaps Wolf Parade's most accessible release to date. The back to back garage-prog of “Baby Blue" and “Weaponized" may be its thorniest cuts, but qualities like the frantic farfisa-esque synths on the former and the pounding title refrain on the latter become more and more inviting with each listen. The interplay may not be quite as apparent as At Mount Zoomer's epic prog-indebted outro “Kissing the Beehive", but the band's maturity doesn't soften Cry Cry Cry's many thrills. Cry Cry Cry can't change the issues it speaks of on its own, but its energy is more than enough to mobilize those who listen.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.