Monday, January 16, 2006

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (4.5/5)

These damn Canadians have gotten uppity. Ever since the earliest signs of America's decline as the premier superpower (national debt, trade deficit, the European Union, China's rise to prominence) Canadians have seemed a bit smug. They're like the tortoise who beat the hare through slow but reliable progress. Recently there has been a slew of Canadian rockers to cross the boarder, and it's feeling like a slap in the face. I have previously suggested Americans do at least one of two things: 1) kick the Republicans out and get someone in office who know their head from their ass, or 2) show the Canadians we still have better rock music than they do. Option one seems like a long shot, but until recently I would have claimed we could lick the Canuks at option two. I mean Rush, c'mon. Is Geddy Lee a guy or a girl? It seems that the Canadians have decided to take our weakness as an opportunity to bombard our country with overly catchy indie-rock bands. I've even come across a couple friends who have become full fledge Canukaphiles (my solution: internment camps). Well, Wolf Parade won't make option two any easier.

I didn't want to like this CD. I really didn't. They're one of those bands that receives too much hype to be any good (*cough* The Strokes *cough* *cough*). However, I was returning a Christmas present and there was nothing else of interest at Best Buy. It turns out they're really good.

Wolf Parade play catchy, but slightly staggered, indie rock--complete with keyboards, tortured lyrics, and dual singers. The singers, while noticeably unique, share the common characteristic that both sound as if their lungs are too big for their esophagus. Wolf Parade are a band that aren't necessarily remarkable because of what they do, but the fact that they do it very well. They're the kind of band that makes ordinary life seem slightly epic.

The themes of night and day creep onto the album again and again, but not so much as in a dualistic way as in the passage of time. The slow release of our remaining hours, moving towards who knows what. I get the feeling that these guys make it a habit to revisit and reexamine their past. Likewise, ghosts creep into their lyrics on many occasions, and even into their song titles. It gives the feeling of looking back at what seemed like mundane life, but finding something profound (kind of like a poem by Wordsworth--except good).

My three favorite songs off the album are as follows: "Modern World," "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts," and "I'll Believe in Anything." (On a side note, doesn't "Same Ghost Every Night" sound like a Sponge song?) Once of the strengths of the album is the fact that each song takes on a unique texture all its own. You can readily tell that there's more than one principal songwriter in their group. Despite this the album maintains a strong thematic cohesiveness both sonically and lyrically.

Apologies to the Queen Mary is a devastating loss in the Canuk/Yankee indie rock war. However, it is not a loss we can't come back from, and the end of the war is still far off. All you Yankee musicians need to get off your asses and start writing some damn fine music.

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