Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top 50 Albums of the 00s - #36: Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.

How many friggin' bands with "Wolf" in their name made their way onto the scene in the 00s? There's Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, Seasons of the Wolf, Guitar Wolf, We Are Wolves, Sea Wolf, and Castle Wolfenstein IV! OK, so the last one isn't a band name (yet). I'm sure nobody planned it that way, but it quickly became difficult to keep all these damn lobos straight. I still struggle, but Wolf Parade has managed to make an indelible mark on my memory thanks to their 2008 release, At Mount Zoomer. Actually, I had done a decent job getting to know them before that - back when I had SIRIUS radio, their "Left of Center" channel was playing "You are Runner and I Am My Father's Son" every hour on the hour. I never once liked that song. But eventually, I checked out the album and found that it had one incredible piece of music on it, the energetic "I'll Believe in Anything." Though the rest of the album did little for me, that one piece of success was enough to get me intrigued in the next release.

The band found their stride here, living up to the potential displayed on that one track. The first song is like a train rolling downhill. But the ride is easy. We're never worried about jumping the tracks. What follows is an album of songs comprised of rusty hooks piled on top of each other. The first half of the record keeps building the momentum until its centerpiece, "California Dreamer." This song has more peaks than any I can think of. Once it kicks in it just keeps coming at you. We get to breathe again for about a minute and a half before the song steadily grows again, even more intensely than the first crescendo.

After a quick breather for a song and a half, "Fine Young Cannibals" begins to nudge to the brilliant coda that is the last two songs. "An Animal in Your Care," is like nothing I've heard before. Honestly, the beginning is borderline terrible. It's whiny and theatrical. But two minutes in, the song changes completely and marches us forward, dragging us with those aforementioned rusty hooks. This all sets us up for "Kissing the Beehive," a ten-minute ramble that feels like a hit pop song. Yet one that features the line "You held your cock in the air and you called it a guitar. You put your face on the glass and you called it good cinnamon..." I can't get enough of this song. I don't pretend to understand any of it. I just know that when it plays, I feel enveloped by it, and have (so far) replayed at least twice every time it has come on. It's like the band sat down to write an "epic" track just for me. Don't think I don't appreciate it. Judge for yourself:

California Dreamer

Kissing the Beehive

Previous Entries:
#37 - Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn
#38 - The National - Boxer
#39 - Hot Water Music - Caution
#40 - Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy
#41 - Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike
#42 - Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
#43 - Ladyhawk - Ladyhawk
#44 - José González - In Our Nature
#45 - Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
#46 - Caribou - Andorra

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