Friday, January 15, 2016

My Top 10 Wolf Parade Songs

Here's some exciting news: Wolf Parade, who have been on 'indefinite hiatus' since 2011, updated their website yesterday. There's not a whole lot of information on at the moment, but what little they've given us to go on is still ample cause for excitement:

Yes, it appears that Wolf Parade will indeed be back (hopefully with a new album) in 2016. While I try to decide whether I'm more pumped for this or for the imminent return of LCD Soundsystem, here are my 10 of my favourite Wolf Parade tracks - if you're new to the band, the content of this list should be more than enough to seize your interest!

10. You are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son
(from Apologies to the Queen Mary)
Hell of a way to open your debut album, this. You are a Runner is a primal, trashy marching song - it's hard to imagine a better call-to-arms for newcomers to the band.

9. Grounds for Divorce
(from Apologies to the Queen Mary)
This was the very first Wolf Parade song I heard (thanks, radio!) and it still sounds fantastic today. That two-note guitar pattern is just so wonderfully annoying.

8. What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)
(from Expo 86)
If nothing else, compiling this list has reminded me just how good Wolf Parade were (and, hopefully, still are) at writing badass guitar riffs. The corker that opens What Did My Lover Say? somehow isn't even the best in their repertoire, as you'll see shortly.

7. The Grey Estates
(from At Mount Zoomer)
A lot of people found At Mount Zoomer too weird/difficult for their tastes, but this is probably the most straightforward, accessible pop song in the WP songbook. That sweet, sugary synth/guitar combo makes the titular estates sound kind of magical, like everything's made of candy floss and every car is an ice cream van. Or perhaps that's the sort of place Dan Boeckner, channelling Springsteen with all his might, is hoping to find once he's left The Grey Estates?

6. It's a Curse
(from Apologies to the Queen Mary)
This, I think, is the best guitar riff Wolf Parade have yet come up with. I find it very difficult not to air-drum along to this track.

5. Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
(from Apologies to the Queen Mary)
"I got a hand, so I got a fist, so I got a plan, it's the best that I can do. Now, we'll say it's in God's hands, but God doesn't always have the best goddamn plans, does he?" Spencer Krug sounds like he's just singing nonsense a lot of the time, but Dear Sons and Daughters is the track that'll make you realise he's actually some kind of genius.

4. California Dreamer
(from At Mount Zoomer)
From that purposeful opening bassline to that awesome chorus, which grows more crushingly powerful with each repeat, California Dreamer is perhaps Wolf Parade's most accomplished, dangerous-sounding effort to date.

3. Kissing the Beehive
(from At Mount Zoomer)
At Mount Zoomer's closing track is the point at which the world we know - which has been threatening to tear itself apart throughout the whole LP - finally shatters, allowing all manner of weird and wonderful extra-dimensional stuff to march grandly, bizarrely out of the holes in reality. Kissing the Beehive is the modern indie-rock epic, as far as I'm concerned.

2. Cloud Shadow on the Mountain
(from Expo 86)
This is prime hurtling music. Serving suggestion: go to the top of the biggest hill in your town, don your headphones, play Cloud Shadow on the Mountain, and just run down as fast you can.

1. This Heart's on Fire
(from Apologies to the Queen Mary)
It was a close contest between this track and Cloud Shadow on the Mountain, but I don't think anything will ever beat the perfect - perfect - synth fanfare that heralds Queen Mary's closing number. This is the song I'd want at the end of the movie about my life: the actor playing me takes one final breath, closes his eyes for the final time, and that sparkling melody appears like a sudden firework in the sky as the credits roll. Yes yes yes yes yes.

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