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Throwing Canadian rock to the Wolves

Wolf Parade is yet another fantastic band out of Montreal. By Gregory A. Perez
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

O Canada!

We love Canada. Not only because it’s just two hours away from us, but because, pound-for-pound, it harbors some of the best new rock in the world.

Canada is also known to harbor wolves. We think wolves rule. Especially wolves that can organize parades.

From this hip-deep wave of new Canadian music springs Wolf Parade, whose debut album ranks up there with some of the best Canuck releases in the last few years (see: Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers, Stars, Arcade Fire, Hot Hot Heat, et. al.) In addition to being the 600th band to brand themselves , “Apologies To The Queen Mary” skillfully streamlines Modest Mouse’s slouchy guitar rock and tickles its ribs with electro sparks of Williamsburg-style synth pop.

They’re not ashamed to wear their influences proudly, and with Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock actually producing most of the thing, it's kind of hard not to. Rampant Brock-isms abound (the steam-powered “You’re a Runner and I am My Father’s Son”), some moments of Cobain-ery (“Same Ghost Every Night”) and a fair serving of Joy Division (“Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts”). As if we couldn’t mention Canada enough, “Fancy Claps” also summons up the dreamy driving pop of the New Pornographers while “Modern World” yearns with The Arcade Fire’s insistent emotional tug (not surprising since both bands trade members like baseball cards). And by now, singer/guitarist Dan Boeckner is probably sick of hearing that he does, in fact, have a serious case of the Beck. But dude. It’s true.

Hyperbolic cross-referencing aside, Wolf Parade manages to stomp out truly great and original-sounding tunes with verve, even with the lint of these other acts still clinging to their (presumably) thrift-store cardigans. Dipping in and out of the 12 songs are Hadji Bakara’s plinky nu-New Wave inflections, which don’t feel completely played out when pit against buzzy lo-fi guitars. Co-singer/keyboardist Spencer Krug adds a robust Bowie howl across the anthemic “I’ll Believe In Anything” and stacks palpable desperation against Boeckner’s vocal urgency. Their elegant acoustic interplay on “Modern World” grounds the record in smart, restrained musicianship, delivering solid substance to go along with the style.

As a name, Wolf Parade fits quite well. There’s something hungry and feral about “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” but it’s not above strutting forth with a bounce in its step. Sometime in the near future, way after the Montreal/Vancouver/Toronto scene emerges from the inevitable backlash (a la Omaha and Seattle), Wolf Parade is sure to be sitting pretty above the fray, licking their chops and plotting their next move to conquer the Lower 48.

Personally, I welcome them. Wolves rule! Canada rules!

For more information about Wolf Parade, visit: http://www.subpop.com/scripts/main/bands_page.php?id=438