Canadian natives Wolf Parade are a band that boasts an emotionally symbiotic relationship with their listeners. Their 2005 debut album Apologies To The Queen Mary was steeped in frontman Spencer Krug’s distinct and elegiac vocals, sounding like the man literally pressed his heart on wax without giving it a second thought. While the singing throughout their discography has always been split between Krug and guitarist Dan Boeckner (they’ve released four albums total), Krug’s tenor has always been more enthralling, eerily stirring, and utterly devastating.
Following the release of 2010’s Expo 86, Wolf Parade announced that they would go on a hiatus until further notice. Those key members pursued individual projects over the next five years; Krug served as the face of Sunset Rubdown and Moonface and Boeckner became involved with Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, and Operators. Last year, they announced that they would be reuniting for a handful of shows.
Amidst their time on a road (including an appearance at Boston Calling earlier this year), their fourth album, Cry Cry Cry, materialized and was officially released at the beginning of the month. Their emphatic, sprawling bouts of sentiment are the most contained — and focused — than they’ve ever been. As the boys braced the stage Friday night (October 20) at Royale in Boston, it was clear that all of the dramatics spanning their 12-year career would finally come to a head.
Despite a set 16 songs deep, the evening was a rapid succession of unabashed passion combined with more streamlined and unapologetic confidence. Their performance was just the right amount of older songs mixed with newer ones; “You Are A Runner/And I Am My Father’s Son” kicked things off on an energetic note before slipping into “You’re Dreaming” and “Am I An Alien Here.” “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)” was a nice reprieve from songs not as familiar to the crowd.
Krug came alive during “Grounds For Divorce,” in which his delivery and intensity peaked so much that it even came as a surprise to him. Other tracks from Cry Cry Cry, like “Weaponized,” “Artificial Life,” and “King of Piss and Paper” (a song Krug exclaimed is anti-Trump) were executed with reverie. But the crowd toppled over as “This Heart’s On Fire,” “I’ll Believe In Anything,” and “Kissing the Beehive” were revealed as Wolf Parade’s final songs of the night. Fans arrived at the venue early to accommodate the band’s 8 p.m. set time left feeling fulfilled for one particular reason: Wolf Parade are back and more fiery than ever.
Featured photo by Candace McDuffie; follow her on Instagram @cmcduffie1.