A WOODEN GAVEL in the shape of a wolf's head strikes the dais. The meeting has been called to order. Bishop Spencer Krug presides. At his right hand sits Dan Boeckner, his fellow songsmith. On the agenda for tonight's meeting, under new business, action item IA reads: Community Manifesto.
Krug unrolls a long scroll that has been drafted by him and his fellow Wolf Parade members and starts to read: ...and it is hereby agreed upon that we shall not—though we use keyboards and electric guitars for our dark, soaring anthems (see article Hymn 9, "I'll Believe in Anything")—embrace the modern world as the Way, the Truth, or the Life. We shall seek the truth through melody and vocal inflections as ordained by our forefather and producer, one Sir Isaac Brock. As stated in article Hymn 3 "Grounds for Divorce," "We shall hate the sound of the buses on the ground/We shall hate the way they scrape their brakes all over town." Which thenceforth shall serve as proper representation and illumination of our mission statement—to sound modern, but to recognize a marked uneasiness with the technology and power chords we use whence united as Wolf Parade. That we promise to adhere to our commitment to the trees that fill our forests, to the land we walk upon; that we will abstain from skyscraper gazing, from apartment balcony life, and never lose our love and appreciation for the places free from the hands of man. I, Spencer Krug, therefore decree..."
He continues on to the end of the scroll.
Drummer Arlen Thompson makes a motion. Laptop and synth player Hadji Bakara seconds. Krug calls for a vote. The manifesto passes unanimously.
Once the meeting is adjourned, after no new business, the leaders move out of the church basement and up to the sanctuary.
The sanctuary could be a downtown Chicago cathedral. Yet instead they are in the band's hometown of Montreal. Their hometown friends Win Butler and the rest of Arcade Fire, along with Frog Eyes, are there to worship and sing. There are many more.
Krug and Boeckner ask the congregation to pull out their hymnals to Hymn 2, "Modern World." The hymn begins with subtle, rolling guitar.
Then the choir sings, "I'm not in love with the modern world/I was a torch driving the savages back to the trees... modern world don't ask why/because modern world will build things high." Demons float out of their mouths and fingers, dancing with each other as they fly out through the stained-glass windows.
It's not until Hymn 9, "I'll Believe in Anything," that the congregation begins to writhe and scream. The band plugs the keyboard into the wall, into the organ with pipes reaching to the ceiling. The sound melts the candles on the altar. "Give me your eyes, I need the sunshine," is repeated in a cult-chant mantra. It's positive and affirming, the escapist answer to all the choir's problems: "I'd take you where nobody knows you and nobody gives a damn." Once it's over they start again. And it's repeated again and again.
There is no benediction.