Seattle Weekly writer Hannah Levin recently asserted that if Neutral Milk Hotel had continued making music after 1998's masterpiece, In an Aeroplane Over the Sea, the group would sound a bit like Wolf Parade now. It's an argument that might raise eyebrows (and heckles) from many of Jeff Mangum's dedicated followers, but it's a thought-provoking one. After all, Wolf Parade's chaotic, charismatic rock shares a lot of the warbling, eerie beauty of Aeroplane's story line (which was imagined through the eyes of Anne Frank).
The Montreal duo burst onto people's radar in 2005 with Apologies to the Queen Mary after signing with Sub Pop (thanks to Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, who was then working as an A&R liaison). The band's eerie grandeur has taken a swing toward the sunny side in recent years, though, and this year's Expo 86 is decidedly more approachable than the band's shambling early work.