Saturday, December 10, 2005

We Both Pull the Tricks Out of Our Sleeves


For almost a year, my friends and loved ones have been putting up with me shoving Wolf Parade down their throats, into their ears and up their asses, but they don't mind anymore. Every single one of them is a fan now.

Last February, I tracked down Wolf Parade's two self-released EPs after seeing high praises for them from Isaac Brock and Win Butler (yeah, I know I'm such a sheep). I was immediately enamored with the 2 EPs. The music seemed to spontaneously reference so many bands I loved. I also loved the fact that the band was comprised of two different singer/songwriters with two distinct styles. Dan, the lead guitarist with the barky Iggy Pop-sounding voice, writes songs that rattle along with spunk and swagger. Spencer, the lead keyboardist (there are two in the band) with the yelpy croon somewhere between Tom Verlaine and Bowie, writes songs that jerk and jitter around winding melodies.

The impact of their first EP is somewhat blunted by murky, lo-fi production. Two of the four songs on ("Modern World" and "Dinner Bells") ended up on the band's debut album Apologies To The Queen Mary. In their original incarnations, both songs have a heavy, hazy air to them. The shody, fuzzed-out production makes the band's keyboard-thick music sound like Devo covering the Stooges' Fun House. Coincidentally, both Dan and Spencer sound remarkably like a young Iggy on this first EP.

On the second EP, the band crystallized their unique blend of technicolor keyboards leading and interweaving with jagged guitars to form indelible corkscrew melodies. Four of the six songs on this EP were included on Apologies: "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts", "We Built Another World", "It's A Curse", and "Grounds For Divorce". The other two songs are of the same caliber. For the most part, these songs ended up sounding the same on the debut, but the original recording of "Dear Sons and Daughters" is a much more passionate version in comparison.

Unfortunately, these two EPs cannot be bought in stores, but, if you can, burn them off a friend or download them somewhere. They are highly recommended.

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