Pitchfork? What? I discovered Wolf Parade in Rolling Stone, in the reviews, saw the three and a half stars (they typically gave everything indie three and a half stars) but bee lined it to Best Buy for the CD for the group’s association with Isaac Brock, of Modest Mouse, who produced.
And I put it in. And it was nerdy. And it was tense. And the guy’s voice was funny. And it was of undeniable greatness in the production area. And the song was weird — “You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son”? Is that like the bleeding heart liberal closure from this war in Iraq thing, ascertaining on an existential level that you’re really your father’s son? That seems like kind of a ripoff.
But “Grounds for Divorce” was anything but, an upbeat, jaunty and relentless power pop punch in the gut complete with some juicy Moog work and the lyrics “You said you hate the sound / Of the buses on the ground / You said you hate the way / They scrap their brakes all over town / I said pretend it’s whales / Keeping their voices down / Such were the grounds for divorce / I know”. “Fancy Claps” was a pure blur, an unsolvable riddle full of random, cathartic primal screams. “Same Ghost Every Night” was dilated, insomniac perfection and “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts” was about as cosmologically steely-eyed as it gets: “But God doesn’t always have the best God da**ed plans / Does he?” “I’ll Believe in Anything” is typically held as the standout but what about “Dinner Bells”, with its finality, its glacial pace and its roaring background noise to accompany all the apocalyptic lyrical forebodings? It’s also one of Spencer Krug’s most virtuosic vocal performances, of which there are many, finding him bending notes as if he’s playing guitar and acrobatically hitting any pitch he needs to with great ease.
Eh, it’s neither here nor there. Most people have at least heard of indie rock to the extent of making fun of horn-rimmed glasses, probably not being completely scummy for doing so, either. I think in ’05 my friend’s little brother and his friends came down to visit college touting Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The New Pornographers. That was about the size of it. It seems like things devolved into that coked-up electro stuff, like M83, Of Montreal and Passion Pit, pretty quickly after that.
First, though, let’s go to late August 2006, in Boulder, Colorado, when I go down at showtime to score a ticket for Wolf Parade at the Fox Theater and it’s sold out. What should they be doing, though, but broadcasting the show outside the venue, in full video and audio? I don’t even go up and watch it, knowing that the sound won’t do justice to Isaac Brock’s production, but I stick around for the atmosphere. I hear one dude who looks about 55 say “This is honestly one of the best bands I’ve seen in a long time.” I see a dude trying to swoon this girl by emitting a verbose diatribe on Franz Ferdinand’s second album You Could Have it So Much Better. Winter loomed, the economic recession loomed, but on that one August night in Colorado I was at the center of a zeitgeist, geographical removal be da**ed, and I’ll always be thankful for that.