Wolf Parade EP 4

[Wolf Parade Productions; 2016]

Styles: dialogues, texting the ex, “we’re on a mission from God”
Others: old Wolf Parade, new Wolf Parade

“Is that a cardboard wolf?”

“Gonna give it to Spencer during the encores.”

“Stupid. Love it.”

“What do you think of the new EP?”

“I like it. I like the songs. Four good songs.”

“They feel small though, right?”

“Shorter songs, yeah.”

“Right. Brief. Not for lack of inspiration, probably; these guys dribble hooks. And the smallness makes EP 4 sound like EP 4 and not Mount Zoomer 2. But these songs can feel kinda slight, right? Compared to, like, the Rushmorey highs Spencer and Dan have jumped off of.”

“Songwriting isn’t suicide.”

“Right and—”

“Wolf Parade is more than those two guys.”

“—that’s why there’s none of those slurpy reunion vibes hanging around. EP 4 is a couple debilitatingly inspired dudes re-realizing that they can collide a few recent separate intentions into a new arc (that’s probably long-term unstable). It feels like an acknowledgment of process, of needing to open familiar lines of communication to find new shit. But also, yeah, admissions of intention and process aren’t the same as aspiration and peak-reaching.”

“It’s a shootaround.”

“What?”

“Before the game. It’s four (!) guys running old plays, clowning, showboating but also flexing and stretching and envisioning what they could do with the ball when it’s game-time.”

“Yeah, but it’s not practice because it’s the thing, right? It’s the artifact. And we don’t know for sure that this is the before-the-game thing because maybe it’s actually the game thing? Also, it’s songs, not sports—”

“—or yeah, it’s game-time but the game is Around the World. Sure, it feels a little like an exercise, maybe less grand, and there’s no halftime. It’s not an Event, but it’s all individuals in a unit developing personal languages of consistency and accuracy and focus, and when you step back, you have this thing—”

“SONGS NOT SPORTS. Your metaphors are trash, talk about the songs.”

“Don’t they all tackle attachment, the way we tie ourselves to arts and loves and lives? There’s ‘Automatic,’ imagines the love emotion as auto-machinating (‘love is easy when it’s all you do’), supposing that romantic attachment is sort of fundamentally exciting and hopeless. I mean, yikes, our guy ‘sings from the nowhere room’ and then ‘calls out for some connection.’ I can’t follow the specific narrative turns of ‘Mr. Startup,’ but there’s this personality unraveling, some guy named Danny withdrawing from the world he’s good at so he can chase something else that’s probably inane and bad for him. It’s retreat from the familiar because that doesn’t feel like a fit. Renounce your talents: ‘blessed be the ones who let their blessings go.’ There’s a literal attachment in ‘C’est La Vie Way,’ two people getting married, one promising he’ll ‘try to be a decent partner, try to keep the teardrops off your face/ be kind enough to regard you in your c’est la vie way.’ But I don’t think the couple has a good dialogue, right, because it’s missed communications, ‘like if there’s a Russian doll inside another Russian doll.’ And there’s only one chorus, really, before the song veers into Roy Orbison aria, splits into a breakdown, and the wedding’s off because, hey, c’est la vie is the point. And the closure is, what, a ‘Floating World,’ where our narrator throws up hands and flies off, ‘lost in the floating world beyond this one.’ EP 4 is super cohesive, conscious of what unions and dialogues are and what it means to re-union yourself with something.”

“If Wolf Parade is the ex we’re thinking of getting back with, these songs broadcast major commitment issues, yeah?”

“You can’t just pick it back up. Commitment’s lame, anyway. We’ll nod politely when they play the new songs and wreck the place when they play ‘I’ll Believe in Anything,’ but it’s not 2005 and barfy nostalgia isn’t good for the band and it’s worse for us.”

“Gonna be a sick show, isn’t it?”

“Was then. Is now.”

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