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Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer

Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer

Label:Sub Pop
Release Date:2008
Genre:Indie Rock

By Michael Byrne | Posted 7/2/2008

Three years later, Wolf Parade's breathless debut Apologies to the Queen Mary is as exhilarating and, by Canadian indie-rock standards, charged as the day it came out. Buttressed by more than impressive solo/side outings from Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner--Handsome Furs, Sunset Rubdown, and supergroup Swan Lake--the Wolf Parade talent pool is unfuckwithable. Really: There was other indie-rock in 2005?

Apologies had that feeling that about every song on it was the band's last--sharp, rumbling, bombastic final stands. At the two minute mark in "I'll Believe in Anything?," when Krug and Boeckner join yelps at the top of what's turned into a mountain of a rock song, only to barrel on faster and faster through howls of "nobody knows you/ and nobody gives a damn anyway," you couldn't imagine much of anything afterward except silence. (This may have also been the moment when Modest Mouse was revealed not to be wearing any clothes.)

Follow up At Mount Zoomer doesn't reach that peak--or that of "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son," "We Built Another World," or, certainly, "Grounds for Divorce"--but it isn't much trying. The record is careful, a mature follow-up to Apologies' brash adolescence. If the interval between albums had been much shorter, you'd probably say this would be the one with the real staying power.

Part of it is the recording: It sounds more professional. The drums are mixed down and don't have that ragged, recorded-in-a-concrete-closet feeling. The record has more interest in melody--guitars are used as paint instead of gasoline. Keys are turned up, even on partially driving songs such as "Bang Your Drum" and "Call It a Ritual." The tightened-down craftsmanship means the album flows with fewer seams, but tracks such as "Language City," which changes suits between classic and late-aughties art-rock, like, four times, and "California Dreamer," which sounds like it could've been an Apologies cast-off, stand tall. It adds up to a band that isn't afraid to grow, and a reassurance that it's also not one to burn out--which, by all rights, Apologies to the Queen Mary practically predicted.

E-mail Michael Byrne

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