Okay. Over the last few weeks I’ve gone back and re-listened to everything I have by the pair.
First observation, Dragonslayer is not anywhere near as bad as I had originally thought. I enjoyed it much more this time around than previously (iTunes tells me I only made it half-way through a second listen previously). It’s still not a patch on AttQM, or on Handsome Furs/The Operators at their best, but it certainly doesn’t warrant the bottom spot in the ranking that I’d give it above.
Second, I obviously didn’t have my ears screwed on properly when I first listened to Expo 86 — or At Mount Zoomer, for that matter — as Expo 86 is much better than AMZ, which, bar 2 tracks (The Grey Estates, Kissing the Beehive, maaaaybe also Soldier’s Grin), borders on bad. Again, I’m not saying Expo 86 is up there with the real quality, but it’s certainly solid.
Third, sorry @wonton but have to disagree that AttQM is the most Krug heavy album. Songwriting is split evenly pretty much across all three albums. In fact, if there’s a Krug-heavy album it’s Expo 86 (6 songs to Boeckner’s 5). In terms not just of songwriting credits, but arrangements and overall sound, though, I reckon both AttQM and E86 sound very collaborative. Only AMZ sounds like they wrote and arranged their respective tracks separately.
Fourth, Handsome Furs’ debut Plague Park, released 2 years after AttQM (and 1 year before AMZ), sounds more like a follow up the Wolf Parade debut than the actual follow-up. I’ve also decided that PP is much better than the second HF album Face Control — pretty much for that reason.
Fifth, Julia with Blue Jeans On and My Best Human Face are terrible. Sorry, but I despise that kind of vocal + piano. As far as I’m concerned, those particular Moonface releases are so far out of genre that it’s not fair/helpful to consider them alongside the rest. Dreamland EP not as terrible, but still not something I’m likely to go back to often (if at all).
Sixth, the new Wolf Parade EP is quality. Again, it’s got that collaborative feel, where both are bringing the best out of each other. Very much looking forward to Cry, Cry, Cry, which I anticipate will be their best since AttQM.
Finally, a revised ranking:
AttQM > (but only just) Sound Kapital = The Operators > Plague Park = EP 4 > Face Control > Dragonslayer = Heartbreaking Bravery = Expo 86 >>>>>> At Mount Zoomer = Organ Music