Back in 2003, keyboardist Spencer Krug was set to play a gig, the only problem was, he had no band. Collaborating with guitarist Dan Boeckner, the duo began to write music in Krug’s apartment, picking up drummer Arlen Thompson along the way, leading to their debut EP. Their first release may have been hurried, but their newest album has been in the works for quite some time. After a seven-year hiatus, Cry Cry Cry sparks the return of Wolf Parade.
In 2016, the band released a deluxe edition of Apologies to the Queen Mary, as well as their fourth self-titled EP as a teaser as to what was to come, but Cry Cry Cry is the first true release of the group since 2010’s Expo 86.
A deep rolling piano intros the first track, “Lazarus Online”. Within the first minute, it’s apparent that there is something new here. In the seven-year hiatus that was taken, Wolf Parade obviously lived through a lot, because this is far darker than anything they’ve done.
“You’re Dreaming” incorporates Wolf Parade’s into the present. With an underlying fast-paced synth rhythm, there’s a far livelier mood to hit like on their hit “I’ll Believe in Anything”. It’s placement in the album, following “Lazarus Online” is great, offsetting a bleak track with a bright one.
“Valley Boy” continues this same feeling with choral harmonies between vocalists Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. However, this track serves more than just a hit for Cry Cry Cry, but as a remembrance of Leonard Cohen.
“The Earth is on fire, so you finally became that bird on the wire”
This line referencing Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire”. It’s odd that the reference was found in this song, and seemed like it would have been much more fitting in “Lazarus Online” due to its somber tone.
“Baby Blue” and “Weaponized” offer a ‘break’ in the album, both being around six minutes long, but also seems to lack the same energy found previously. These tracks still stand up, but they mark a point in the album where everything starts to become a variation of each other. It’s like the songs stand on a sliding track where they’re notched up to varying levels of sadness in order to create an illusion of difference between them.
Cry Cry Cry has an aged feel to it. Krug recently turned 40, Boeckner is not far behind, and the overall sound of the album is indicative of matured songwriters. In previous work Krug developed a sound containing mostly synths, however, this album is far more piano-heavy than other albums. The members of Wolf Parade have definitely grown in their songwriting capabilities, adding more emotion, commentary, and completeness than in previous albums. For a band who just spend the better part of a decade away from each other, the album has a good sense of cohesion. It may not be the best thing Wolf Parade has ever made, but it’s nice to have them back.