[Ed.'s Note: Try to read this review with the mindset it was written in July, as it was. A review of the full-length will be posted shortly.]
There should be something said about using an EP as an actual teaser for an upcoming full-length, which seems the most logical use of a collection of short songs, especially considering the practice seems deader with each passing year. Wolf Parade do this perfectly, however, using this short and sweet 4-song EP to not only get you moving, but also get everyone excited about their nearing full-length, which appears later in the year. The four songs represented here include some infectious, dance-inducing songs as well as some more emotive and heavy passages, striking a nice balance between the two. And while it is enough in and of itself to be interested in -- the promise which this shows -- it should naturally leak onto the future release, and that's the true story behind it.
While there have been plenty allusions towards the standardized sound which Wolf Parade play, it would be short-sighted to dismiss their brand of indie rock as mundane or overdone. The small flairs of personality abound on these four songs, from the excellent vocals to the playful stomp of “Shine a Light,” Wolf Parade seem set on putting their own spin on traditionalistic composition. What results is a familiar feeling, a mixture of songs that still manage to offer a new perspective. The aforementioned opener, “Shine a Light,” begins with a catchy, galloping guitar leading the way, upon which other sounds are continuously layered, eventually morphing the song into an immediately gratifying, upbeat and pulsating song. The heartfelt cries from Dan Boeckner are delivered as earnestly as one could ask, with lines like “that’s fine, I’m barely alive” and the constantly repeated “waiting for something that’ll never arrive” give the song an emotional weight that contrasts nicely with the dance-floor stomp of the synth and guitars. “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son” relies on a disjointed drum pattern following alongside Boeckner’s broken voice. With “Disco Sheets,” things once again pick up as the music pushes quickly giving the vocals a quickened, urgent pace, before settling down for a brief period, only to make a final charge with a swagger that does the name proud.
This EP gives a superb introduction to Wolf Parade, and should build the anticipation for their full-length to a maximum quickly enough. While there is nothing that strays too far from a standard template for indie rock, they do manage to fit a personality behind the elements led by Boeckner and the quirky instrumentation that oftentimes brings out the danceability of the songs. With only four songs running under 14 minutes, there’s just enough material to whet the appetite but not enough to satiate it. That may be the best thing about it. Here’s to waiting in anticipation.