Through their sound and style, it's easy to tell that Wolf Parade came together in a ramshackle, hasty manner. When Spencer Krug asked Dan Boeckner to join a band he had no songs (and no other members for) in 2003, the duo set about writing a setlist's worth of material in three weeks. Those beginnings may well have been sloppy, but their 2005 debut 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' embodied the now-quintet's haphazard, nonchalant charm.
That debut has since been named as one of the indie-rock albums of the decade by hipsters everywhere, so it's no wonder that the Montreal band have taken so long to follow it up. Then again, with a leader as prolific as Krug (who also fronts Sunset Rubdown), perhaps it was a matter of pinning the songwriting machine down for long enough. Whatever the delay, though, it's unlikely that either fans or newcomers to Wolf Parade will be blown away by their second effort.
That's not to say that 'At Mount Zoomer' isn't unlistenable, far from it; as skewed indie, zooming synths, thwacks of piano riffs, and unbridled guitar pop goes, there's plenty to keep the senses galvanized. The gentle sway of opener Soldier's Grin, the off-kilter timings of Call It A Ritual, the tenuous vocals and hippy-folk vibe of An Animal In Your Can and the Beck-meets-Ben Folds pop of Language City are all undeniably great, and it's patently clear that Wolf Parade are a band buzzing with ideas and concepts.
Yet it's the final track, the almost-eleven minute long Kissing the Beehive that exemplifies Wolf Parade best. A woozy, wobbly, semi-chaotic discharge of crashing drums and dramatic guitar riffs, it's a song that sees Wolf Parade in real danger of disappearing up their own arses in a fit of pretentious self-gratification. Somehow, though, it just about works. Somehow, although not immediately, so does this album.