Wolf Parade

Thin Mind

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Thin Mind Review

by Mark Deming

It seems size does not matter for Wolf Parade. Multi-instrumentalist Dante DeCaro, who had been working with Wolf Parade since 2005, left the band in early 2019, leaving the original trio of Spencer Krug, Dan Boeckner, and Arlen Thompson to get along without him. But if anyone expected the group to scale back their sound as a three-piece, 2020's Thin Mind wastes no time in shutting down that thinking. Wolf Parade sound lively, passionate, and fully committed on these ten songs, with Krug's Bowie-esque glam-conscious vocals reaching to the third balcony and easily finding their target, as the arrangements suggest the great lost new wave album of the '80s. While Thompson's drumming invests this music with a pulse that's decidedly human (even when he's paired with period-appropriate electronic percussion), the banks of synthesizers give this a feel that merges past and present, as keyboard sounds summon the ghost of classic synth pop and dance music while expressing a drama and clear focus that confirms this isn't meant to be viewed as nostalgia or satire. The tone of these songs usually leans to darker themes, but Thin Mind isn't gloomy so much as deeply concerned with the state of our culture, in large scale ("Under Glass," "The Static Age") and on a more personal level ("Julia Take Your Man Home," "Out of Control"). When Krug sings "All we are is reaching for the light" in "Town Square," it's the sound of a man who hasn't given up hope just yet. In concept and execution, Thin Mind is Wolf Parade in their classic form, but with a force and a sense of purpose that makes them sound fresh and vital. Losing DeCaro seems to have goaded Krug, Boeckner, and Thompson into showing their fans they still have the goods, and it works on Thin Mind.

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