Monday, January 16, 2006

Best Music Of The Year (Part 3)

Well, as 2006 picks up speed, my lazy ass still hasn't finished my 2005 Best Of The Year list. In fact, I'm still in internal-debate-mode what my favorite album of the year is. But, I lean heavily towards..

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

I'm a fan of rock and roll. Despite my love of all things indie and strange, sometimes the straightforward speaks the most. And when it's done right, it can be extremely powerful. Following in the footsteps of those other awesome Monteralians, Wolf Parade took me by complete surprise this year. I'd long come to suspect any band with the word Wolf in their name as well as my usual Pitchfork apprehension and so I was suspicious. Could this album be all I ever wanted in an album?

Apologies starts off with a drum kick that has a distinct "shot heard 'round the world" vibe. The first couple of songs are a powerful, personal, sentiment and set up's the album lyrical themes. For me, the lyrics on this record - a combination of two lyricists combining forces to form one modern viewpoint - is one of the biggest hooks. The images in the first handful of songs are more vivid and evocative than most bands create in their entire career. Just like The Arcade Fire, when I listen to this record, I get images of cold weather, lonely cities, quiet homes, and long bus-rides staring out the window, watching the world go by.

Musically, Wolf Parade seem to have their roots in the Metal sensibilities that shaped a lot of my favorite music in the 90's. A step above grunge, but without the aggression of real metal music. I'm down with that. Their songs have a tendency to break out into cacophonous riots of emotion. Their rebellious shouts against the prisons of modern society ring true with me. Driving to work this morning, there's nothing I'd rather hear than a cry for revolution against a world that doesn't question why, that just "builds things high."

The highlight of the album for me comes around track eight, "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts." A brilliant, confident, song that contains some lyrical knock-outs and a frighteningly addictive melody. And it doesn't stop there. The last few tracks contain as much power - if not the immediacy - as the beginning of the album. The central track - "Same Ghost Every Night" - is a little long and slow for my taste but the rest of the album feels as fresh and strong after fifty listens as it did after five and that, alone, is a testament to this album and this band.

The comparisons to the Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse are hard to shake. In a year of stand-outs, is an album similar to last year's unanimous winner worthy of the kind of attention that I give it? I don't know. All I know is this album entered my consciousness and has a left a real mark that I think I'll remember for a long time to come.

Or, in other words, those damn Canadians did it again.


Christopher Barzak said...

You've been tagged on my blog, dude, to do the five weird habits meme. Cya!

Elad said...

i don't have any weird habits! well.. maybe.