The soaring choruses, rousing anthems, sprawling guitars and chaotic keys that make up Wolf Parade are on proud display over the course of Cry Cry Cry, the band's thunderous first album in seven years. That unique combination of sounds and influences, spearheaded by electric co-frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner – a complex yet relatable, energetic brew of glam, prog, synth-rock, and satisfying discomfort – helped define 2000s indie rock with three critically celebrated albums, and propelled a growing Wolf Parade fandom even after the band went on a then-indefinite hiatus in 2010.
Their return marks the band's first to be produced by Pacific Northwest legend John Goodmanson (Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Unwound) at Robert Lang Studios outside of Seattle, and is accompanied by a renewed focus and the creativity of a group that took their time getting exactly where they needed to be. It's also a homecoming to Sub Pop, which released all three of the band's previous albums. In the time apart, the band scattered geographically and focused on family and other work - Spencer on his solo project Moonface, Dan on his bands Handsome Furs, Operators, and Divine Fits (with Spoon's Britt Daniel), and Dante De Caro on records with Carey Mercer's Frog Eyes and Blackout Beach. And that time allowed for an even stronger, tighter band to emerge.
Wolf Parade have always tended to make albums that react against their previous work. Compared to 2010's relatively sparse rocker Expo 86, Cry Cry Cry is more deliberate in its arrangements and embrace of the studio process, as evidenced by songs like "Valley Boy," a Bowie-inflected anthem for which Spencer wrote lyrics after Leonard Cohen died the day before the 2016 election. "You're Dreaming," also influenced by the election and the spinning shock that followed, is driving, urgent power pop that draws from artists like Tom Petty and what Dan calls one of his "default languages" for writing music. The swirly, synth-heavy crescendo of "Artificial Life" takes on the struggle of artists and at-risk communities.
The album carries a sense of uprising that is not unrelated to Wolf Parade's renewed determination to drive the band forward in uncertain times. Welcome to Cry Cry Cry.