An indie-rock mishap
Wolf Parade has been active as a band for a little bit over a decade total. Thin Mind marks the band’s fifth full-length project, and up to this point, they’ve been very successful. With the group now nearly twenty years and multiple roster changes removed from their formation, it’s hard to imagine them not starting to scrape the bottom of the creative barrel. Thin Mind might represent the very beginning of that deterioration, albeit not quite as severe as the often obvious creative difficulties that many other artists have faced. This group still has much to offer, their offerings are just not as refined or consistent as they have been in the past. While Thin Mind may be far from exceptional, fans of the band or this sound should still give it a listen.
One of the unfortunate facts of this album is that the first half is all too homogenous, primarily in regards to its production. Initially, it feels like the group has found a really interesting pocket in terms of their sound for roughly the first two songs (“Under Glass” and “Julia Take Your Man Home”). Soon after “Forest Green” begins (probably the most underwhelming iteration of this sound), thoughts like, “why would I listen to this when I can listen to “Under Glass,’’” start to creep into one’s head. This lack of diversity in production for this first half drastically reduces its ability to stand up to repeat listens. “Out of Control” is the primary standout amongst this half of the album, and while it’s surrounded by some slightly-above-dud quality songs, this one is undeniably incredible and absolutely worth your time.
Maybe the band realized that the sound of the first half had grown old, because they start to trail off in a number of different, sometimes frustrating directions, in the second half. “Fall into the Future” and “Wandering Son” are the first tracks that, in addition to being mediocre, just don’t feel at home on Thin Mind. “Against the Day” is an admirable attempt at a more electronic-leaning direction, but once again, it doesn’t quite stick the landing. The album closes with “Town Square,” an improvement upon the first half’s sound with a caveat; the project’s most disappointing vocal performance.
The best part of Thin Mind is easily its lyrical content, which remains at a very high level across the whole project without exception. Without this glue holding it together, Thin Mind might have been a much rougher listen. Overall, while most of the tracks aren’t outright bad, this fifth full-length from Wolf Parade represents a bit of a blip in their legacy, but certainly not an irredeemable one.