The latest album from Wolf Parade holds a message that we should all lend our ears to. Thin Mind takes a look at the deterioration of our social relationships and the environmental destruction that our society is headed to. Be it from the technological advances that are encasing us to our computer screens, or the rabid corporate advancements that are slowly eating up the earth.
Even with Dante DeCaro’s departure from the band, they still manage a full sound that’s steeped in 80’s synth-rock, with sprawling chords and inventive song structures. The signature keyboard glam is still embedded into Wolf Parade’s sound as well as their lyrical poignancy, but what sets apart Thin Mind is its wealth of experimental synth use.
From its first words, “Under Glass” pulls us into its world: “Like science fiction / We’re under the glass again.” Alluding to our increasingly isolated lifestyles. We have so many things to choose from, and yet: “Nobody knows what they want.” This theme is continued in “Out of Control”, where Krug’s Bowie influence shines through. Paranoid guitar riffs and sinister chords warn us of a grim future, where we could lose everything if we don’t make the right changes.
There are also narratives in the album that are more personal. In the glimmering synths of “Julia Take Your Man Home”, our titular character struggles with her man as he goes into a spiral of self destruction. The story is in a third person perspective, but it’s easy to see ourselves in its main characters. “Wandering Son” is a reflection that Dan Boeckner faces as a touring musician. There’s the threat that: “They’re going to have a funeral for your profession”, and a sense that he has no permanent place to call home once that happens. This haunting synth rock song pays homage to a bygone era with Blade Runner’s famous line displayed in its chorus: “All our days wash away like tears in rain.”
Things are not as hopeless however, as this album has a liberal use of bright melodies and hook-filled songs to balance out the gloom. Wolf Parade also presents us with what we can do to survive. “As Kind as You Can” is a hopeful midpoint track that radiates its message to all its peers. It explores a different short story in its three verses, and the answer is as straightforward as the title suggests.
The songwriting in Thin Mind is as solid as ever. This is an album that gets better at repeat listens, and is a mark that Wolf Parade’s craftsmanship has gotten better with time.
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