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Wolf Parade:: Apologies To The Queen Mary (Album Review)

Yes, Isaac Brock discovered them and brought them to Sub Pop. Yes, he produced their debut album. And, yes, they sound like Modest Mouse. But there’s more: Wolf Parade are good. No, they’re really good. How can a band sound a lot like another band, a one-of-a-kind one at that, and come away making you forget it matters? By being themselves. And this doesn’t always mean trying to make something brand new. For the members of Wolf Parade — vocalist/guitarist Dan Boeckner, keyboardist/electronics manipulator Hadji Bakara, keyboardist/vocalist Spencer King and drummer Arlen Thompson — this means being honest about who they and what their inspirations are. And if anything translates into good music, it’s honesty. Clearly, Modest Mouse inspired Wolf Parade’s debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, but the Montreal band expressed enough true emotion on their album and have enough unique talent to make you forget all about Modest Mouse. From the first few seconds of the album, you’re hooked. The hard drumming, so precise and heavy, beckons you to march in tune on opening track “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son” before it transitions into guitar feedback and distorted electronics. “Grounds for Divorce” most recalls Modest Mouse for Boeckner’s Brock-like vocals, which cascade to hiccuping heights over spastic rhythms, ringing guitar and beats that chug like an oxygen machine on overdrive. “Dinner Bells” is a sleepy, slow-paced track carried by a steady simple beat, gentle, ringing guitar, an occasional flute whistle and Boeckner’s strained, brokenhearted yelp: “There’ll be no more dinner bells/ Dinner bells to ring,” he sings, sounding worn and weary. The aptly titled closer “This Hearts on Fire” is the most emotional track on Apologies with its fevered builds, swift, pumping beats, and impassioned chorus with Boeckner so fired up it sounds like his voice got beat up and scratchy in the process. “It’s getting better all the time,” he sings fervently, “It’s getting better all the time.” Play Wolf Parade again — you’ll most definitely want to — and you’ll see it certainly is. (by Jenny Tatone)