Wolf Parade's debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, received great reviews upon release, but it now seems unduly influenced by its producer, Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. Fortunately the band's self-produced follow-up fully embraces the group's strengths and eccentricities. Though Wolf Parade channels '70s-style progressive rock here, it never sounds masturbatory because every song is anchored by a driving hook. Even the album's 11-minute closer, "Kissing the Beehive," manages to stay on track thanks to the ringing, dissonant synth riff that fills in for a chorus. It's fair to say the group has suddenly snatched the indie-rock championship belt from associates Arcade Fire, at whose Montreal church the album was recorded. But unlike that band's Neon Bible, At Mount Zoomer manages an element of spontaneity. The heartbreaking moments come when you least expect them, such as on "California Dreamer," told from the perspective of the Mamas and the Papas' left-behind "California Dreamin'" lover. Rather than rely on Brock's efforts, Wolf Parade has instead channeled the '60s and '70s to produce a truly timeless album.
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