Category Archives: Vinyl colored

WOLF PARADE — Cry, Cry, Cry

Album: Cry, Cry, Cry

Artist: Wolf Parade

Label: Sub Pop

Release Date: October 06, 2017

The Upshot: A return to roots for Krug and Boeckner, of fulsome tremulous emotions expressed through ball-crunching riffery and trilling keyboard blasts, of sensitivity blared through arena-sized rock gestures and bravado.


It’s been seven years since the last Wolf Parade album, the urgent and unabashedly rock Expo 86, and members of the band have been off in their separate journeys, Spencer Krug with the plaintive anthemics of Moonface, Dan Boeckner with the alienated post-punk romanticism of Handsome Furs, the oddball synth pop of Divine Fits. Cry, Cry, Cry feels like a return to roots, of fulsome tremulous emotions expressed through ball-crunching riffery and trilling keyboard blasts, of sensitivity blared through arena-sized rock gestures and bravado. Krug and Boeckner alternate lyrical duties, but both perceive the sorry state of a fallen world through vivid, nearly lurid metaphors, suitable for shouting from rooftops while punching stale air. This album is maybe the most uplifting downer of 2017, which is saying something.

Cry, Cry, Cry starts from the micro and expands outward, beginning in the smallest kind of tragedy. One person’s death makes up the core of “Lazarus Online” in a fluting, urgent, emotion-charged swan dive into this album’s aesthetic. Wounded but defiant, ripped up but melodically unstoppable or as Krug puts it, aptly enough. “Like getting punched in the heart/were the exact words on describing the music you heard.”

Boeckner brings a bit of his new wave, synth-blasting, dance mode into “You’re Dreaming,” but its tootling hedonism seems a trifle next to “Incantation,” where piano chords cavort around architecturally stark percussion. The music cake-walking frippery, brave ornamentation, amid the wreckage, and it echoes ideas about trying to maintain love and truth and joy in an oppressive world.

As always Krug’s songs are a bit more fluid and romantic, Boeckner’s sterner and full of punishing rhythms, but they meet in fertile middle that balances mourning and celebration. Krug’s “Who Are Ya,” the catchiest of these tunes, the most overtly upbeat, limns the immediacy and joy of making music (“with your hand on the neck of your father’s guitar”) but tempers it with recognition that this joy is always passing even when it’s going on. Boeckner’s last song, “Artificial Life,” is the album’s bleakest, lyrically, musing on income inequality and gentrification, climate change and political divides, and yet it bubbles and burbles with palpable giddiness. The easiest way to say it is that there’s no barrier between despair and euphoria in these songs — which contain both, equally, simultaneously and without contradiction.

DOWNLOAD: “Lazarus Online,” “Incantation,” “Who Are Ya”

Ed. Note: Get the vinyl (below), duh.

DIVISIONISTS – Daybreak LP (orange vinyl)

Album: Daybreatk LP

Artist: Divisionists

Label: Mount Watatic

Release Date: March 17, 2017

The Upshot: A near-perfect blast of visceral psychedelia and blissed-out power pop that yields earworm after earworm.


Devotees of latterday psychedelia surely shed more than a few tears when New England quartet Abunai! called it a day in the early ‘00s, after a fruitful 1996-01 run that yielded three critically acclaimed full-lengths. There have been the inevitable reunion shows over the years, but for the most part the members have concentrated on their post-Abunai! projects, and with Divisionists, formed by guitarist Brendan Quinn, we have a combo that not only builds upon that psychedelic legacy, it definitively merges psych with power pop and shoegaze for one of the freshest-yet-familiar albums of 2017 to date.

Quinn, a multi-instrumentalist whose solo albums have featured appearances by fellow Abunai! alumni, the Bevis Frond gang and other indie avatars, and spotlighted, in particular, his fingerstyle guitar virtuosity, is based in London these days and is joined by guitarist/synth man Mark Bennett, bassist Mike Whitaker, and drummer Rob McGregor. In 2012 they released the “we play rock music…” EP to good notices, but with the arrival earlier this year of the “Say Can You” single, all bets were immediately off for Divisionists. A hi-nrg blast of chiming, fuzzed-out guitars and soaring, ecstatic vocals, it conjured classic images of everyone from Teenage Fanclub, Ride, and Matthew Sweet, to Byrds, Crazy Horse, and Velvet Underground. That, along with followup “Dream Landscape,” a moodier, drifting/droning ballad that adds Big Star to the pop rogues list, are  obvious highlights on Daybreak’s first side, although that’s not to say that any of the other tunes are slackers. Far from it—just check the gospellish vocals and rippling guitars of “Alone” or a luminous cover of the Velvets’ “Pale Blue Eyes.”

Flip the record and the delights keep coming, from the warm, womblike sonic cocoon that is “Colors (Song For a Spaceman)”—for you influences trainspotters, listen for the modal, almost Quicksilver Messenger Service-like fretwork—to the straight-up jangle pop of “Little Margaret” to the dark, explosive, feedback-laden, space-rocking “We Must Be Careful,” which, at seven minutes, has ample time to ebb and explode in a prismic burst of dynamics, tones, and textures. All in all, a remarkable record that repays successive listens with earworm after earworm. All those above comparisons to icons? Believe it.

Consumer Note: The album, available at the above Bandcamp link for the record label (which is run by Quinn and Lisa Makros, who also guests as a backing vocalist) or at the group’s Bandcamp page (which compiles a slew of ecstatic reviews), comes in digital or vinyl formats—180gm orange wax, to be specific, and it is a visual, tactile feast. Included is a download code as well as a full-sized, four-page insert for credits, lyrics, and photos. I call that going the extra mile, and it is truly appreciated, gentlemen.

DOWNLOAD: “Say Can You,” “Freedom,” “Colors (Song For a Spaceman)”