Guest post by Doug Thompson
Okay, so let’s get one thing pretty clear before I start my debut post on One A Day – I’m a pretty massive fan of Wolf Parade. While this is about to become very apparent, I’m making no apologies for it. None.
For me, this band epitomises everything I love about the mid 2000s indie scene that I was so obsessed with as a kid. Wolf Parade formed when Spencer Krug was offered a gig supporting the Arcade Fire back in 2003. He didn’t have a band at this point so he called his buddy, Dan Boeckner (also of Divine Fits), and the two of them went about writing some early songs with a drum machine.
This resulted in the Wolf Parade EP, a bunch of songs with such explosive energy that seemed to be borne through that the perfect combination of angst and boredom. When my friend came back from his gap year in Canada with it, I instantly fell in love. Two lead singers, each with such unique voices; Krug’s almost bird-like squawk and Boeckner’s gravelly and pained mutterings working in combination with synthesizers and electronics and a highly distorted guitar pumping riffs out above the confusion below. This was the Montreal music scene I was so besotted with as a kid. And just to make the indie fan boys froth at the mouth a little more, they brought in Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse to produce their debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary.
Perhaps I get too sentimental when I talk about Wolf Parade. It takes me back my bedroom in my parents’ house, where I’d stay up late talking to friends on msn and listening to music and mucking around on the Facebook in groups such as “Modest Mouse = full body orgasm” and “Spencer Krug is a fucking lyrical genius”. While these days I have slightly better control of when I ejaculate, and I doubt I’d go as far as to call Krug a ‘genius’, these two little outpourings of emotion summed up how I felt about Wolf Parade in 2005.
‘Dear Songs and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts’ is wedged between two of the singles off the record – and while it might not be as catchy as ‘Shine A Light’ or ‘I’ll Believe In Anything’ the opening chords hit you in the chest in a way very few songs do or ever really can. As Krug’s distinct voice comes clattering in over the top of those chords, Boeckner’s riffs come shining through from beneath, creating this wonderful multi-layered wall of sound. It’s one of those songs that has the ability to transport you back to the time and place that you first heard the song, or that period of your life when you had it on repeat. This is a special quality. ‘This Year’ by The Mountain Goats also does a very similar thing for me. Lyrically though, Krug sets himself a part from many of his genres contemporaries. He has the ability to paint such rich visual imagery without coming off as trite. That is of course, if you’re able to decipher what he’s singing, which I’d encourage you to do, because it’s totally, completely worth it.
Wolf Parade – ‘Dear Songs and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts’