Sunday, August 21, 2005

album review! wolf parade: apologies to the queen mary

Image hosted by

ladies and gentlemen, have you ever wondered what would happen if modest mouse and the arcade fire made love and had a mentally-challenged baby? well, wonder no more! wolf parade, from montreal (which people say is the "new seattle", but being from seattle, i'd have to provide a correction: seattle is the new seattle. take my word for it), who is currently touring with the arcade fire, makes an album that was produced by issac brock of modest mouse. the results? a decent debut record.

#1: "you are a runner, and i am my father's son"--
the first thing you hear on this record are the thunderous drums, and all you can do is bob your head. if you're as much as an audiophile as me, you'd probably wonder how they got the drum sound. then, the ominous organ chord progression comes in. simple, but effective. the lead singer's vocals come in, and if i can do some lazy music journalism for a moment, his voice is right between issac brock's grumpy-uncle mumble, and win butler's slightly drunk, yet extremely passionate warble. bobbing my head through the entire song, i have to say that wolf parade heard the gun sound and they took off sprinting.

#2: "modern world"--
another ominous-sounding piece, this one is acoustic guitar coupled with piano and drums. the bridge in between the first and second verses sounds like they cut something from an arcade fire song, and pasted it on their song with pro tools. i really like the chorus. the acoustic guitar line grabs me for some reason, and thank goodness they keep it for the remainder of the song. i also like the howling/chanting [?] in the background.

#3: "grounds for divorce"--
the rollicking drums right before the chorus are a nice touch. nothing particularly special about this song. it's just there. lazy music journalism moment number 2: the rock-out at the end sounds like something modest mouse would do if they were jamming with the arcade fire. shit. i sound really idle right now.

#4: "we built another world"--
honestly, this song does nothing for me. it's just there. i do have to admit that this song is kinda spooky. lazy music journalism moment number 3: this sounds like a modest mouse b-side from the lonesome crowded west. and not a very good b-side, at that. sorry, guys.

#5: "fancy claps"--
they start out with some synth noodling, and then go into a guitar line that sounds like it was cribbed from an unknown 70's metal band. lazy music journalism moment number 4: see lazy music journalism moment number three and replace lonesome crowded west with interstate 8.

#6: "same ghost every night"--
a downtempo beat, and a somber-ish guitar line. the vocalist starts out the song with what almost sounds like a yodel. if i were a hater, i would call it boring, but i actually like this song. even at almost six minutes, it doesn't feel like it drags at all.

#7: "shine a light"--
the guitar line starts out with the exact same note as "get back" by the beatles, so i got confused for a second. then, all the instruments come in, and it sounds exactly like the arcade fire. exactly. i swear i'm not being lazy, this time.

#8: "dear sons and daughters of hungry ghosts"--
my favorite thing about wolf parade are their song titles. this is a poppy number, and a really good song. possibly the catchiest song on the entire album. it's also in the upper echelon as far as quality is concerned. definitely one of the better songs on this disc.

#9: "i'll believe in anything"--
starts with some more synth noodling, and then, the drums start with one simple hit of the snare for every beat. another really catchy number. not profound by any means, but very catchy, and sometimes in rock and roll, that's all you need.

#10: "it's a curse"--
another spooky, arcade fire-ish song. i stopped counting my lazy music journalism moments, because i'm sure it's hit twenty already. this song's not terrible, but on the same token, it doesn't do anything for me. sometime, it's better to be awful than boring.

#11: "dinner bells"--
..and here is the prerequisite song-that-clocks-in-at-longer-than-seven-minutes. and, unfortuneately, it sounds almost exactly like modest mouse. i mean, i like it and everything, it's good. plus, i'm sure the guys in wolf parade would rather be compared to modest mouse than good charlotte.

#12: "this heart's on fire"--
another song that sounds exactly like the arcade fire. more specifically, it resembles "rebellion (lies)", but only a little. kind of an anticlimatic ending.

summary: since it's their first album, i'll go easy on them. when you're tagged with the label "art-rock", it's easy for a new band to follow the influence of the genre's two most successful acts. however, the reason these acts were successful is because they created something that sounded completely different from nearly everything else in music. i suppose i could blame the influence of issac brock, producer of this record, but i'm pretty sure that he didn't come in to produce a carbon copy of his own band. it's easy for a new band to become derivative, but it's a shame, because they're very talented young men. the best songs on the album were already released on the wolf parade ep, so if you have that, then i wouldn't recommend getting this album unless you're already a fan. hopefully, next time out, they'll shed their influences, and use them to create something fresh.


Post a Comment

<< Home