An Essential Guide to Wolf Parade

By Matt Bobkin

Published Apr 05, 2016

An Essential Guide to Wolf Parade

When Montreal ruled a indie roost in a early 2000s, no rope was some-more inclusive than Wolf Parade. Rubbing shoulders with a likes of Arcade Fire and a Unicorns, Wolf Parade shuffled seamlessly between Dan Boeckner’s foot-stomping anthems and Spencer Krug’s jittery, particular rock. All a while, a twin frontmen frequently stepped out on their own, churning out manuscript after manuscript with a accumulation of outfits, a trend that continued after Wolf Parade went on interregnum in 2011. The span fast amassed dual graphic behind catalogues trimming from folktale epics to neat synth-rock, and copiousness in between.

Wolf Parade’s recently announced reformation, with a slew of summer shows and a deceptive guarantee of new material, came in a many Wolf Parade-ian approach possible: not usually are they reuniting, yet 3 of a 4 remaining members have new albums out this year. Navigating a rope members’ extensive, heterogeneous behind catalogues was already severe enough, and a charge is set to be even some-more daunting a year from now. To make it easier (and to assistance soundtrack a celebration), here’s a Essential Guide to Wolf Parade.

Essential Albums:

5. Sunset Rubdown
Dragonslayer
(2009)

There’s a manly component of anticipation compared with Krug’s work. Many of his songs are packaged with references to Greek and Biblical mythology, and Dragonslayer is, loyal to a name, a “Krug-iest” work he’s ever done. The fourth manuscript by Krug’s onetime-solo plan Sunset Rubdown, Dragonslayer is entirely enthralled in a science of legends, with any of a 8 songs a circuitous journey on their own; together, they make adult an manuscript of Odyssean proportions.

The tunes are enterprising no matter that spin they take by Krug’s intricacy of sonic ideas, bolstered by harmonies between him and Camilla Wynne Ingr. Though some listeners might get mislaid on a way, a manuscript coalesces in a riff-rocking “Dragon’s Lair,” on that Krug confronts his demons over a march of a track’s 10 minutes. Though it doesn’t seem like Sunset Rubdown done it out alive — this was a final lane of their final manuscript — it serves as a fitting, imaginary funeral.

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4. Wolf Parade
At Mount Zoomer
(2008)

Apologies to Arlen Thompson, Hadji Bakara and Dante DeCaro: a other members of Wolf Parade are mentioned distant too infrequently, a byproduct of being in a rope with not one yet dual impossibly inclusive frontmen. But they get their due respects on At Mount Zoomer, Wolf Parade’s sophomore full-length.

The record doesn’t homogenize a members’ particular voices and talents, yet showcases them all clearly and synergistically in a approach that no other Wolf Parade manuscript does, reconciling a particular characteristics they’d been building with their other projects in a years given Apologies to a Queen Mary. DeCaro’s drum lines, Thompson’s prolongation and pitter-patter and Bakara’s keyboards are all equally notable and sonically present, that creates for a record that’s cleaner than Apologies and jammier than Expo 86.

Another covenant to a band’s teamwork here is Boeckner and Krug’s usually strain together, extensive closer “Kissing a Beehive,” that serves as a band’s many desirous work.

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3. Handsome Furs
Sound Kapital
(2011)

For an outfit who teetered on a hill between guitars and synths, Sound Kapital is not Handsome Furs’ many offset record: that honour goes to their second album, 2009′s Face Control. But by pulling a guitars aside and focusing on synths, Boeckner and then-wife Alexei Perry put out a sleek, discriminating cocktail manuscript that still carries their wild, in-your-face appetite that emerged over a march of their prior annals — demeanour no serve than lead unaccompanied “What About Us,” that builds into a synth-y whirlwind that is anything yet forgettable.

What finished adult being Handsome Furs’ swansong incited out to be deeply prophetic: in a opening moments, Boeckner declares, “When we get behind home, we won’t be a same no more.” He emerged from a throes of Sound Kapital entirely altered and, as his after work with Divine Fits and Operators has shown, sounding many some-more contemptuous and assured as a result.

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2. Sunset Rubdown
Shut Up we Am Dreaming
(2006)

Though Dragonslayer might be a record that best embodies how listeners understand Krug as an artist, it’s Sunset Rubdown’s second manuscript that maybe best shows how Krug sees (or, during least, saw) himself. The initial Rubdown manuscript with a full band, Shut Up we Am Dreaming doesn’t wobble itself into existent imaginary landmarks; here, Krug showcases his furious imagination yet drift himself with a weight of reality.

Though he dreams of flying, Krug is no Icarus; instead he thinks and sings, with a childlike sweetness, of insecurity, punish and scapegoat as he explains a trivia of adulthood that mostly goes infinite in adult lessons. He spares small fact about life’s tiresome difficulties, and a arrangements simulate that, bundling burdened, maximalist stone with jumpy, robust keyboards and glockenspiels. Over a march of an album, Krug builds a mythology of his own, crafting a coming-of-age manuscript that explores a facets of life that others don’t brave discuss.

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1. Wolf Parade
Apologies to a Queen Mary
(2005)

In 2005, Wolf Parade finally expelled their entrance manuscript after towering by a trail to get there. A rambling rope assembly, a array of EPs, a inebriated night aboard a album’s namesake journey boat and dual opposite recording sessions left a rope tired and emotionally raw. You can hear it on Apologies to a Queen Mary, on that a rope demonstrate a husky clarity of jubilation, around raised-fist stone hooks, that still binds adult as one of a climax wealth of Montreal’s indie stone array a decade later.

In a 2005 Wolf Parade cover story, we said, “it’s no longer apparent that songs are Spencer’s and that are Dan’s,” and, in hindsight, it’s this matter that identifies a album’s evident and durability success. While after releases bear a particular members’ graphic elements, Apologies is many some-more cohesive, yet with songs that still have their possess sonic identity, an manuscript that stands alone from a members’ past and destiny works.

Rifling by fatigued ballads (“Modern World” and “Same Ghost Every Night”), fast anthems (“Shine a Light” and “This Heart’s on Fire”) and heady sing-alongs (“You Are a Runner and we Am my Father’s Son,” a implausible “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts,” and “I’ll Believe in Anything”), Apologies to a Queen Mary is unapologetic in a emotiveness. After a high-pressure chief alloy that brought them together, Apologies seamlessly melds some of complicated music’s many unique, artistic voices for an uncontrollable jubilee of feeling — something, anything, everything.

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What to Avoid:

Wolf Parade’s early EPs (2003 to 2005), while possessing strands of their after potential, are best left for completists, with a best marks being reworked and discriminating into tip form for Apologies (with a difference of “Dear Sons and Daughters,” that works amazingly good both in a rougher, extended form and a shorter, cleaner manuscript version). Krug’s Sunset Rubdown debut, Snake’s Got a Leg (2005), is a likewise sparse collection of sonic scraps, also with some severe gems in there. Clearly Krug suspicion so, too: all a best ideas were discriminating and reworked for after releases.

On paper, Swan Lake looks like an indie stone dream come true: Krug, former Frog Eyes bandmate Carey Mercer and Dan “Destroyer” Bejar — 3 of Canada’s many graphic voices, in mixed senses of a tenure — entrance together like an art propagandize Voltron. But their debut, Beast Moans (2006), suffers from too many cooks in a kitchen and overlapping, half-baked visions (follow-up Enemy Mine (2009) is a somewhat some-more cohesive improvement).

Krug’s Moonface has been a array of closed-term experiments where Krug will take an instrument (often in a piano family) and emanate an manuscript around it. But yet Krug shines where he is given a far-reaching sonic palette to work with, these Moonface albums are oftentimes repeated and vapid — with some exceptions, that we will get to.

Atlas Strategic, Boeckner’s early 2000s stone outfit, was critical in moulding his career — a band’s success landed them an opening container for Modest Mouse and introduced them to lead thespian Isaac Brock, who after sealed Wolf Parade to Sub Pop Records and co-produced Apologies — yet a band’s skronky sound lacked a propulsive coercion that done Boeckner’s successive work so compelling.

Further Listening:

The third (and, presently, latest) Wolf Parade manuscript is 2010′s Expo 86. The record facilities a many graphic order between Boeckner and Krug’s tracks, that might have subconsciously foreshadowed their then-impending hiatus. Many tend to adore possibly Krug’s yelpy operas or Boeckner’s anthemic rockers, yet frequency both (for this writer, it’s Boeckner’s songs that unequivocally mount out here: “Little Golden Age,” “Ghost Pressure” and “Yulia” are a trifecta of Springsteenian perfection).

For some-more of Boeckner’s best, keep going with a initial dual Handsome Furs records, Plague Park (2007) and Face Control (2009). Though he after discriminating his sound (but never his howl), he and Perry rubbed a some-more dissimilar relocating tools well. Venturing by Handsome Furs’ sudden breakup, Boeckner teamed adult with associate raspy indie rocker Britt Daniel (of Spoon) as Divine Fits, and their usually album, A Thing Called Divine Fits (2012), is good for fans of both acts, reintroducing pretension stone elements to Boeckner’s augmenting synth fascination. Divine Fits bridges a opening from Handsome Furs to Boeckner’s stream project, Operators; their solitary recover so far, EP1 (2014), streamlines Divine Fits’ lean, mean, synth-rock sound with a punk-like sensibility. Time will tell if a project’s arriving Blue Wave LP will continue this trend.

With Krug, Sunset Rubdown’s self-titled EP (2006) and third manuscript Random Spirit Lover (2007) make a project’s high-art mania. Though it’s today easy to forget that Krug initial detonate onto a stage as Frog Eyes’ keyboardist, a piano stays during a core of his music, an early scrutiny of his exemplary roots can be listened on Fifths of Seven’s solitary album, 2005′s pleasing Spry from Bitter Anise Folds, a sound he recently overwhelmed on (now with vocals yet reduction a strings) with Moonface’s Julia with Blue Jeans On (2013), an manuscript of solo piano ballads and his starkest, rawest work to date. But it’s not usually with a piano on that Krug shines; also value visiting from his Moonface plan is Heartbreaking Bravery (2012), a partnership with Finnish post-rockers Siinai that finds a dual assembly in a center for a lean, cohesive manuscript of windy stone tracks. The dual army will be teaming adult again for a new recover after this year.

Not to forget a stroke section, Arlen Thompson has prolongation credits on many of a albums listed here (and played drums on Arcade Fire’s seminal “Wake Up”), and Dante DeCaro’s singular, self-titled manuscript with Johnny and a Moon is a pleasing alt-country record. Plus, “On a Loose,” DeCaro’s usually recover underneath his possess name, heralds good things to come from his arriving solo debut.

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