We are raised up very high.
Same Ghost Every Night
As part of my ongoing effort to live in the past I am going to write a running commentary review of Wolf Parade’s 2005 Apologies to Queen Mary. This Montreal band, formed in literally three weeks in 2003, blends Radiohead-esque sounds with Canadian indie rock sensibilities. At times I certainly feel like I’m hearing Johnny Greenwood et al. without Thom Yorke out front. On to the music:
You Are Runner And I Am My Father’s Son is a nice introduction to the band and the album. The vocals are quite distinctive and remind me of Modest Mouse. Perhaps not coincidentally it was Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock that brought the band into the Sub Pop fold. This song lays on top of a repeating drum pattern that persists throughout most of the song. The guitars would be at home on early U2 or Peter Gabriel.
The next song, Modern World, is introduced seamlessly from the previous track. I’m not in love with the modern world. The song is somewhat of an anthem about life in our world. A dirty piano sound runs through the verses while the chorusy bit is more ethereal. One thing about this band is that I often struggle to understand what they are singing, much like The Verve. I wonder if it’s intentional distortion of an issue with my hearing.
Grounds for Divorce starts out like a Clash song at least as far as guitar tone goes. Quickly we are treated to some fun synth (a mainstay of current indie rock). Random album fact, apparently the title of this disc refers to an incident on the actual Queen Mary ocean liner. I don’t think I’ve ever had an incident in a public place. Maybe something is wrong with my life. This song breaks down into a delightful guitar synth outro that lasts about a minute.
One of the great features of Apologies to Queen Mary is that there is no down time. The tracks slam into each other in a pleasing way. We Built Another World follows the winning formula of synth and guitar. We are also trated to some nice back and forth harmony in the middle of the song. Bad things happen in the night.
This album was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize in 2006. I’m not surprised because it embodies all the principles of good indie Canadian rock, and is outstanding musically.
Fancy Claps is the most familiar song for me. It appeared on a mix CD that lived in my car stereo for about 2 years. Coincidentally the length of the relationship I had with a huge Wolf Parade fan. For awhile, Fancy Claps was Wolf Parade to me. I absolutely love the harmonies in this song. They almost aren’t what is traditionally known as vocal harmonizing but rather its two abrasive voices blending to create an enjoyable sound. When the clapping comes in and the keys start to solo out the song I smile. I love what I’m hearing.
Suddenly the album takes a turn. The evening has descended on the album. Same Ghost Every Night is slower and more understated than anything we’ve been treated to so far. At times this could be a Weezer song. The band, while maintaining a firm grip on indie reality, detours a little into a mesh of almost carnival sounds and rock & roll. I don’t think I’ve expressed that idea very well, but if you listen to the song I think you’ll get it.
The last song ends like a natural break so I will pause now for the evening and bring you part II of this review tomorrow.