8. Wolf Parade - Apologies to Queen Mary

Although the bands that spawned from the Canadian indie explosion of the early 2000’s didn’t intentionally set their focus on how quirky or odd their overall sound turned out, it ended up being one of the trademarks of the movement. That being said, Wolf Parade stood out because of their ability to combine their own eccentricity with actual substance. Loosely overdriven guitar and synth lines, chugging rhythms, and passionate yet hardened vocal deliveries yield an aural and thematic sound rooted deeply in reality. Completely relevant to the observation and failures of both personal and social struggles, Apologies contains nothing ethereal or otherworldly to diminish the directness and purity of Wolf Parades delivery. In conjunction, their instrumentation and timbre is formulated around incredible pop songwriting that generates another level of depth along with the more immediately noticeable stylistic flairs.

Every song on this album is substantial contribution to the album as a whole, and every song has enough diversity to really capture the interest of the listener. ‘You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son’ opens the album, instantly showcases the style that Wolf Parade is known for: a thumping rhythmic pattern starts the song off, complemented by carnivalistic piano playing after a few measures. Vocals that recall some twisted variation of the yodel, and the snarls of a drunken man, sound out in perfect harmony. Eventually, dirty guitar chords permeate the mix, which eventually bursts into noise and segues into the next song seamlessly. Already, the obvious trademarks to their distinctive sound display themselves within the first few minutes.

The distinction between Wolf Parade and other odd & quirky indie bands is not only their ability to showcase such a style but to fortify it with genuinely strong base songwriting (songs that could still display a formidable structure even when played with just an acoustic guitar or piano), and thematically consistent lyrical content, despite there being two lyricists. Because of their fundamentally solid songwriting, the songs manage to be incredibly direct and cohesive despite the frenzied nature of their sound.

The feelings are dark, and the deliveries imply impassioned individuals on the brink of admitting defeat- but Krug and Boeckner march forward regardless, not because there is hope, but because there just might be something worth marching forward for. In ‘Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts’, Krug belts the lines ‘So I got a plan / It's the best that I can do / Now we'll say it's in God's hands / But God doesn't always have the best goddamn plans, does he?’, only to be followed by ‘I’ll Believe in Anything’ where Krugs unrelenting delivery once again exemplifies a lack of control with passionate desperation, despite understanding the limitations of his own actions. ‘This Heart’s on Fire’, ends the album, appropriately titled and delivered.

The only comparison I’d like to make to another band is to Modest Mouse, and only a philosophical one at that: Apologies contains a practically unrivaled directness, unhinged and borderline-maniacal vocal delivery, songs that are incredible on their own yet enhanced by the order the album, and unmistakable and distinctive instrumentation. Sound wise, despite Isaac Brock producing most of the album, they are dissimilar- Wolf Parade sounds like Wolf Parade, and their madness and genius are their own. Disregard comparisons to Wolf Parades contemporaries such as The Arcade Fire, or Frog Eyes. Dynamic, brutal, passionate and dark, Apologies to the Queen Mary takes baroque pop and morphs it into their own incredibly eloquent yet crazed form.


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