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CD of The Week

Week of 1/27/20

    Wolf Parade - Thin Mind (Sub Pop)

    Sometimes the best things come in smaller packages. Finding themselves back as a trio (multi-instrumentalist Dante DeCaro left the band in 2018) does not mean that Thin Mind, the fifth full-length release from Wolf Parade, has a more scaled-back sound. Quite the opposite. Literally from the first second of the album's leadoff song "Under Glass," Wolf Parade come out of the gates at a sprint. The original lineup of Spencer Krug, Dan Boeckner, and Arlen Thompson have crafted an album that has a lot to say and does not waste time getting to the point. What's most interesting is that behind the upbeat melodies and pulsing drumbeats lies a narrative that explores the general anxiety felt from today's seemingly never-ending barrage of content via handheld devices. If this sounds more like a pitch for the next season of Black Mirror than the basis for an indie rock album you would not be wrong. Nevertheless, Thin Mind is a great listen.

    Recorded over a four-month period in a barn-turned-studio in the Canadian wilderness allowed the group to escape the very distractions they were writing about. "Wandering Son" tells the story of a boy spending his nights staring off at a screen in bed rather than drifting off to sleep. "All our days will wash away, like tears in rain" Krug sings, a not-so-subtle reference to another work of art that portrayed a future enslaved by technology. The aforementioned "Under Glass" (another subtle/not so subtle reference) hides a great deal of lyrical depth behind bright guitars licks and a catchy breakdown mid-song.

    "The Static Age" covers similar ground while songs like "Julia Take Your Man Home" and "As Kind As You Can" turn the focus more personal. Thompson's drumming keeps the upbeat sound coming throughout to the point where it's almost impossible not to tap your feet to the beat. Ironic for an album dealing with such heavy subject matter, but it is this very contrast that makes Thin Mind so satisfying. It tackles dark themes but does not let that darkness completely envelop the music. And even with DeCaro's exit, the band seems right at home as a trio. Wolf Parade are starting out the new decade by letting everyone know, despite it all, that they're ready to keep it going.  

    Wolf Parade will return to Philadelphia on February 21st at Union Transfer.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a copy of Thin Mind. Click here for details.

    Review by Keith Obaza

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