Thursday, February 26, 2004

Wolf Parade vs. the World, Pt. I

I want to interview the Wolf Parade. They are a great indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec so I don't have the excuse of distance being a problem. I've already seen them play live and danced to their brash raw songs. So why haven't I tracked them down yet?

As I reported in a past entry, they are being courted by major labels and have plans to release an LP sometime in the next couple of months. With one of the members of Modest Mouse genuinely interested in the Wolf Parade sound, they are sure to gain a stunning Pitchfork Review like their fellow Montrealers The Unicorns.

Since the Wolf Parade was kind enough to put some of their MP3's online @ New Music Canada, we can all listen and wait for them to spin their chords into a Canadian Gold record. Upon listening to "Modern World", I was immediately struck by the brooding Blade Runner atmosphere, vaguely paying homage to Thom Yorke and Depeche Mode at the same time. A Casioesque keyboard riff is used to great effect without venturing into frightening atonal territory.

The song "Wits of a Dagger" sounds a lot like what might result if members of Hot Hot Heat formed a supergroup with The Blood Brothers, equipping the whole guitar section with keyboards instead of their Fenders or Les Pauls. I'm still waiting for that one to grow on me. It does take the prize of being the most "avant-garde" song they've posted online to date.

"Secret Knives" sounds like a sort of Heroin blues, or even the overly used term "garage rock"; it jabs at you with wide lefts and uppercut rights, never ceasing with the sonic assault until your head is spinning. "Intangible, Intangible.." sings Dan as the song reaches it's epic plateau. Wolf Parade should definately play a show with Dale Boyle and the Barburners because they often mine gold from the same mountain. That edgy blues, not cutesy like the White Stripes, much more immediate and pure.

I know that the term "post-rock" gets thrown around more than a dinghey in a squall, but for Wolf Parade's song "Dinner Bells", I'd have to request your permission to use it one more time. Building off of a simple keyboard line, Dan's electric guitar begins to sing through a shimmering rhythm section. "I heard all your reasons / I heard all your plans / I have seen seen the seasons / bunched up in your hands" sings Dan, sounding slightly melancholy, as if he is breaking bad news to a friend. "There'll be no more dinner bells / no dinner bells to ring". The guitar gets unruly later in the song, beginning to shriek in response to Dan's warnings of no more seasons. It is a great song and deserves to live inside of a stereo.

The final song "This Heart's on Fire" was recorded from their live show @ La Sala Rossa in January. I was present for that performance and it sounded just as vital and viscious in person. I think this could end up being one of their singles, depending on whether their future label has qualms about releasing some good music into the environment. We have all seen the devastation inflicted by the Boy Band Disasters of the past few years. Luckily, the Wolf Parade are the antithesis of a serial panderer like the White Stripes; Jack White has let the White Blood Cell Fever go to his head and he is writing to push LP's, not to write songs that hold up the sky. The Wolf Parade are sure to enter the pantheon of Great Montreal Bands along with their associates The Arcade Fire and maybe they'll let in The Unicorns just to have someone to bully. The strange thing is that last time I checked, Unicorns weren't real.

The Wolf Parade will be performing live @ Dovercot House in Toronto, Ontario on April 3rd. For more information, contact the Wolf Parade or visit their website.