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Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer

B-

Wolf Parade

Album: At Mount Zoomer
Label: Sub Pop

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The downside of releasing an excellent debut is that nobody lets you forget it. But Wolf Parade manages to move forward just fine on its sophomore effort At Mount Zoomer. Scaling back the frenetic pace and combustible forcefulness of 2005's Apologies To The Queen Mary, Wolf Parade no longer sounds like a band pushing itself excitedly to the breaking point. The relaxed approach on At Mount Zoomer allows the sure-handedness of Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug's songwriting to come through more clearly on solidly melodic tracks like "Language City." But it also makes the record feel less urgent and distinctive than its predecessor. Setting aside the exhilarating "Kissing The Beehive," the album's standout 10-minute closer, At Mount Zoomer sounds like any number of indie bands specializing in quirky mid-tempo pop-rock songs. "Fine Young Cannibals" and "Call It A Ritual" sound more than a little like Spoon, and while there's nothing necessarily wrong with that, it does suggest Wolf Parade still hasn't quite figured out who it is yet. But while At Mount Zoomer is occasionally faceless, at least it's a good faceless. There isn't a bad song here, just few great ones.