Wolf Parade attempts to revive indie rock, again

Album cover of Wolf Parades Thin Mind

Album cover of Wolf Parade’s “Thin Mind.” Courtesy of Sub Pop

On their new album “Thin Mind,” Wolf Parade is as energetic as ever, bearing a comforting dose of nostalgia with a modern perspective. 

Wolf Parade isn’t exactly an indie household name, but they have been releasing their brand of post-punk revival music since the early 2000s. 

Their 2005 debut, “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” saw the group already carving their names out with one of the most influential albums of the decade. They made their way onto many decade end lists and many music magazines with a reach that they have never quite been able to replicate. 

This wasn’t because Wolf Parade ever misstepped. In fact, they continued to release consistently fine and decent indie rock music for years. 

“Thin Mind” takes what made Wolf Parade good then and just runs with it. Songs like “Julia Take Your Man Home” deliver punchy guitar riffs and a synth line that is incredibly reminiscent of their early songs.

With “Thin Mind,” the Montreal rock group tried to inject vitality into a music trend that saw its peak about fifteen years ago when The Strokes and The White Stripes were ripe in their careers. 

There are songwriting aspects of “Thin Mind” that do feel fresh, like the lyrics to “Julia Take Your Man Home” which offer a bit of a gender role reversal — “Julia, take your man home / He’s just sitting at the bar / Carving shapes that look like dicks into the wood”. Nevertheless, Wolf Parade probably could have released this album fifteen years ago with better results. 

Thematically, “Thin Mind” is very current, expressing common fears of the 2020s about an age that is rampantly dependent on technology. They sing about being trapped in a science fiction — a “static age” in a place where nothing changes and “nobody knows what they want anymore.”

“Wandering Son” takes the ‘80s new wave sound of The Cars and taps right into our dystopian fears. “Everything you do is automatic / No one really needs you now / And all your days will wash away like tears in the rain,” they said. 

Unfortunately, Wolf Parade seems to have been cursed with the terrible fate of forever living in the shadow of their debut work. “Thin Mind” feels like for the most part, recycled material. What they do offer us is substantial indie rock that feels like it has been missed in an era where rock music has supposedly been dead for years. The album just doesn’t offer anything in the way of progress.  

Rating: 3/5 stars

Kati Morris can be contacted at [email protected] or @neutralsoymlk on Twitter.