LONG PLAYERS OF THE YEAR: [19] Wolf Parade, “At Mount Zoomer” (Sub Pop)

[Photo by Meqo Sam Cecil]

We hate half-baked countdowns just as much as the next cynic. That said, self-titled couldn’t help but stare in horror as good but not great (Fleet Foxes at No. 1 and 2? Really?) albums top the lists of other publications. Here’s one of 30 selections from our rundown of wholly recommended 2008 records …

Remember when Wolf Parade were supposed to save the world? Or at the very least, carry the Canadian crossover torch from their friends Arcade Fire? Well, that never quite happened, and we’re not quite sure why. While the Montreal quartet played to a packed Terminal 5 earlier this year, they’re inexplicably m.i.a. in many a year-end list. This despite the considerable replay value of their second full-length disc, the rather addictive At Mount Zoomer.

With Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs) and Spencer Krug (Swan Lake, Sunset Rubdown) splitting songwriting duties, two clear visions of Wolf Parade emerge: one that’s slightly cheery and spiked with candied synth lines (“Soldier’s Grin,” “The Grey Estates”) and one that’s slightly sinister and two seconds away from a nervous breakdown (“California Dreamer,” “An Animal In Your Care”). Caught somewhere in the middle is “Kissing the Beehive,” a mini-epic that was originally written as a multi-movement example of welcome self-indulgence. Stripped down to just 10 minutes–the song’s so strong it often stretches to 15-20 minutes live–it’s an airtight exchange of ideas and hooks between Boeckner and Krug, polar opposites that ought to play together in the sandbox more. Maybe next time. Until then, expect a Handsome Furs disc in the spring.


“Language City”


“Call It a Ritual”


TRACK RECORD: Wolf Parade, “At Mount Zoomer”

THE S/T SCOOP: Dan Boeckner Revisits Hardcore Roots on New Handsome Furs LP