Friday, August 27, 2004

Album Review: Wolf Parade E.P. (Self-titled)

Rating: 4.216 out of 5.

Wolf Parade: (Pronounced 'wulf p&-'rAd)
1. Procession of wolves (canus lupus) which moves from one point to another. Extremely rare, but occasionally observable in remote regions of Eastern Canada.

2. Montreal band with talent to burn and a propensity for writing great rock songs. Signed to Sub Pop, toured with Modest Mouse, and beginning to catch eyes internationally. Fucking incredible.

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Please pardon the profanity--admittedly, I can swear like the saltiest of sailors at times--but I can't find any other words sufficient to rave about Wolf Parade's latest EP. Although they were kind enough to give us six good songs this time around, the true music fan's appetite is unrivaled in the animal kingdom. WP's full length LP will be released sometime this winter and the anticipation is killing me like ozone at low altitudes.
Image courtesy of Jonas Lesser. Thanks Jonas!

The first song "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" may be burdened with a ponderous title but the tune is spectacular. Dan brings some of his patented crunchy guitar riffs and Spencer keeps the ball spinning with a nifty keyboard line; if a gun was placed to my forehead, I might compare the style to a souped-up and less gloomy Interpol. Still, comparisons are useless because Wolf Parade don't fit into the square pegs of musical categorization; their shape is as unique as a person's retina.

"We Built Another World" has one of those dancey Rapture/Franz Ferdinand kind of drum beats but don't let that scare you off. With a lilting bridge that segways into a heartfelt chorus, it is a decent counterpoint to the post-rock shuffle of the first track.

"Grounds for Divorce" could have been a track from Hot Hot Heat's "Make up the Breakdown" LP, only with a slightly slower pace. [Ed. Note: This will certainly piss Spencer off but I'm just going with my gut feeling! I like HHH so please don't take this the wrong way.] Spencer sounds like he is longing for familial bliss but feels unable to do more than watch strangers and dab his tears; "Look at the lovers / in the telephone stands / and the way they move / and the way they move their hands". [Ed. Note: Originally, I thought that Dan was singing on this one. Sorry for the confusion.]

"It's a Curse" has one of those spooky, ethereal sounds that Isaac Brock might have written if he were less of a country gentleman. Don't get me wrong--Modest Mouse is a splendid band--but "...Curse" has more of an edge than most MM songs. When the final chorus marches in, I'm sure that the singer from Clinic is probably shivering in his scrubs somewhere, fearful that these Canadians can outrock his critically-appreciated UK outfit.

"The National People's Scare" has a calm, laid-back, dark-black groove. I remember hearing this song at the Go Rin Do Loft party and it rings out like a Replacements composition with graceful, raw energy.

"Killing Armies" is good although the heavy intrusion of keyboard makes it my least favourite of the six songs on the EP. Still, it will probably grow on me because the Wolf Parade's tunes are as contagious as chicken-pox. I'll be scratching for the next month or so until October 3rd, when Wolf Parade will open for "Bostonian avant-rockers" Mission of Burma at Cabaret in Montreal, PQ.

Don't miss these Victorian ex-pats unless you have an aversion to solid rock. I'll be close to the front row, brandishing a full beer bottle and bopping my head to the WP sound; I'll try to remain as conscious and sober as possible, of course. [Ed. Note: Don't fib. You're a cheap drunk.]