Are Wolf Parade a supergroup? Google seems to think so: It returns some 70,000 results on the matter, including several from this very website. Certainly their lineup is stacked enough for the distinction. Between Spencer Krug, Dan Boeckner, and Dante DeCaro, I count half-a-dozen notable bands past or present, and drummer Arlen Thompson has put in work with Arcade Fire. But supergroups are rarely this prolific, nor this devoid of ego, and Wolf Parade have excelled at reconciling two increasingly distinct songwriting presences to make their music with-- rather than on top of-- each other.
This is especially true of Expo 86, the third Wolf Parade record in just under five years. Co-leaders Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug are both coming off of arguably their most successful self-led projects yet. Last year's Dragonslayer served as a culmination of sorts for Krug's Sunset Rubdown, and Boeckner's Handsome Furs made a huge leap from curios to contenders on 2009's Face Control. Both seem to have carried the strengths of their respective sorta-side projects into the booth for Expo 86. While Wolf Parade's self-produced 2008 LP At Mount Zoomer was a notoriously laborious record to make, Expo 86 is said to have come together quickly, with help on the boards from Howard Bilerman. Limber and focused, it sounds like a record made by a band without a bunch of other commitments, and more than the two Wolf Parade records that preceded it, like a unified statement from its two songwriters rather than a couple of strong voices working in parallel.