APOLOGIES TO THE QUEEN MARY Wolf Parade
I'm on a rock 15 miles out to sea. A gothic fog obscures my long sight and waves smack up in relentless rhythm. The soundtrack to my world is Wolf Parade's Apologies To The Queen Mary, and in the same way that opposites attract, it's weirdly perfect. The Maine island I'm on is conducive to creepy thoughts and quirky dreams, and while it seems slow here, there's plenty of breathless drama and static among the inhabitants against the backdrop of those crashing waves. Wolf Parade's crackling energy and battering ram rhythms seem to give voice to the island's jagged rocks and human static. But that's just me.
This Montreal-based rock band's first full-length release comes exploding out of the gate. The opening track, "You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son," begins with the cymbal and snare setting up an importunate rhythm followed closely by a goth keyboard. The keening voice of one the band's two singers comes in, proclaiming, "I've got a number on me / I've got a number / And I won't make it through / The high noon sun" and later, "I was a hero / Early in the morning / I ain't no hero / In the night." Distortion and static creep in and build till they are all the song leaves us with. Besides being a highlight of the album, "You Are A Runner…" is a good example of the bands sonic approach. Electronica circles earthier, more human sounds and they build into a sustained musical howl. Man and machine crash in the mosh pit.
What's particularly appealing about Apologies To The Queen Mary is that amidst the storm of sound, there are melodies both infectious and beautiful, and many moments of clarity and sadness. "There'll be no more winters / There'll be no more springs / There'll be no more dinner bells / Left for you to ring" ("Dinner Bells").
Producer Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse has kept Wolf Parade's raw, gritty energy largely intact while helping them create an approachable, well-crafted debut album. In an interview with the Montreal Mirror, one of the band members has likened the group's sound to an ape in a jacket at a nice dinner. Eventually (inevitably), it pees on the table. That's just what's so great about this band. You can take them into a fancy studio, teach them to use the nice equipment, but their true animal nature will always bust out. I can't wait to see what they do for the next course. • Judith Edelman
their page at newmusiccanada