Tues Sept 20
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For better or for worse, music journalists are perpetually fascinated with the links between geography, time, and creativity. Whether it's Detroit in the '60s, Minneapolis in the '80s, or Seattle in the early '90s, there's a perpetual impulse to trace musical trends topographically. Thanks to the flash point ignited by the Arcade Fire, Montreal is the scene du jour, as recently declared by Spin and the New York Times, among others.
While such proclamations tend to cause scenesters to collectively roll their eyeballs and claim too much media attention can stunt the growth of a previously undisturbed community, the sudden spotlight can also unearth promising bands that might have remained obscure otherwise. This is certainly the case with Montreal's Wolf Parade, an intriguing quartet recently signed to Sub Pop Records via the endorsement of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock.
Conceived in 2003 as a collaborative endeavor between guitarist/vocalist Dan Boeckner and keyboardist/vocalist Spencer Krug, Wolf Parade make minor-chord-driven, discordant chamber pop that has drawn justifiable comparisons to both Brock's band and their friends in the Arcade Fire. Thanks to mournful raspy vocals, sweetly engaging keyboard-driven melodies, and commanding percussion, the band conjures a comforting moroseness that could quickly earn them a broad audience among fans of dark-minded, off-kilter indierock.
Apologies to the Queen Mary, the band's full-length debut for Sub Pop, is a slow-burning record—working with a deftly mixed palette of somber, sorrowful tones and uplifting, nearly optimistic harmonics.
Drummer Arlen Thompson is obviously aware of the privileges and pitfalls that go with being a resident of a trendy city and a peer group as widely heralded as Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse. "I guess Montreal is... whatever... the city right now, but really, a lot of these people are just our friends. We've played shows with the Arcade Fire to 20 kids in someone's front living room," he admits, "but we're just going to keep doing what we're doing and not pay too much attention to it."