Wolf Parade Apologies to the Queen Mary

[Sub Pop; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock, Canadian indie, lo-fi
Others: Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Frog Eyes

Wolf Parade is a pretty exciting band. Initially brought to attention by Modest Mouse's Issac Brock, Wolf Parade's widespread adulation has continued primarily through word-of-mouth, without much non-surfacy press attention until this summer's final teaser. But perhaps it's a boon to Apologies to the Queen Mary, the band's full-length debut, that the band's prior output didn't receive the attention it deserved. Of AttQM's 12 cuts, all but 3 have been available either on one of the band's first 3 EPs or, in the case of "Shine a Light" and "I'll Believe in Anything," as live in-studio (at CBC Radio 3) downloads. The band has only been together since 2003, however, and to ask them to amass more quality material than has landed on their records thus far is a bit too much to ask, even of Wolf Parade.

But rather than bitch about the lack of new songs, why not talk about how good they are? Like the Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade aren't doing anything particularly new -- the shrieky vocals, dirty guitars, and oscillating synthesizers won't shock anyone who's been listening to Modest Mouse and the like since the mid-90s. Wolf Parade's songs are mostly built around surprisingly catchy, surprisingly simple ideas -- be it the military stomp of album opener "You Are a Runner...," the elegant, sleepy riff of "Dinner Bells," or the sing-song melody of "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts." Apologies to the Queen Mary takes the best songs off each Wolf Parade release to date, cleans them up (that first EP was pretty fucking lo-fi), and, quite frankly, makes a realistic bid for The O.C. The unfortunate thing for the aloof among us, though, is that Wolf Parade do what they do better than anyone in recent memory. And they have a marginally better name than The Arcade Fire. Marginally.

Anyway, this is a real good record, and you'll probably have to listen to it whether you want to or not.

1. You are a Runner, and I am my Father's Son
2. Modern World
3. Grounds for Divorce
4. We Built Another World
5. Fancy Claps
6. Same Ghost Every Night
7. Shine a Light
8. Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
9. I'll Believe in Anything
10. It's a Curse
11. Dinner Bells
12. This Heart's On Fire

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