In the early '00s, cool kids everywhere became obsessed with all kinds of lupine creatures. Maybe it was irony. Maybe it was rabies. Or maybe the moon had slipped off its axis. Whatever the cause, almost everyone between the ages of 16 and 28 was wearing a howling wolf's head T-shirt and naming their fledgling band after these beasts.
You had Wolfmother and Wolf Eyes and Aids Wolf. But only one furry, fanged crew — Montreal's Wolf Parade — really seemed to possess the cunning, coyote-like survival skills to live on that skinny swath between mass popularity and the hipster wilderness. With 2005's Apologies to the Queen Mary and 2008's followup, At Mount Zoomer, the pack of four proved it was built for both your living room and the forest's remote underground lairs.
Now it's 2010, and all the cool kids have sold their shirts. But Wolf Parade's newest collection of canny indie rock, Expo 86, is keeping the howl alive. On brooding and strangely baroque anthems such as "Cloud Shadow on the Mountain" and "Little Golden Age," the haunting, echoing vocals sound like they were recorded in a cold, deep cave, while the noise is equal parts catchy New Wave and polished chaos.
It's music that makes you want to breed beneath a full moon.