Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At Mount Zoomer

At Mount Zoomer art work

I've been meaning to do a review for At Mount Zoomer by Wolf Parade for months now. Wolf Parade's debut album Apologies to the Queen Mary was my favourite release of 2005 and introduced me to my favourite. band. ever, Sunset Rubdown.

Wolf Parade is a band that started as gorgeous Spencer Krug (of Sunset Rubdown and Frog Eyes) and Dan Boeckner (of Atlas Strategic and Handsome Furs). After 2 EP's Dante Decarlo (of Hot Hot Heat) joined their crew as a second guitarist and percussionist.

My love of Wolf Parade's 'Apologies to the Queen Mary', grew into an obsession with Sunset Rubdown and transformed into an inability for me to see anything with Spencer Krug's name attached as anything other than brilliant. Thus when i first listened to At Mount Zoomer (with bated breath, waiting for my eargasim to erupt), i was sorely disappointed and figured it must be one of those albums that takes multiple listens to get into.

After months of multiple listens (and many sleepless nights searching for some kind of hidden genius i must have over looked), i had a dream that captures the essence of what's wrong with this album...

Wolf Parade by Shane Ward

I'm in Landspeed Records massively excited about today, the release day of new Wolf Parade. I can't find 'At Mount Zoomer' on the shelf so i go ask the kind of pudgy, High Fidelity want-a-be guy sitting behind the desk.

Hey.' I say.

'Yeah?' He grunts back.

'Do you have At Mount Zoomer by Wolf Parade in?' I tentatively ask him.

'Yeah, it's here. [hands me the CD]. Do you like Spencer Krug?'

'Uh, you could say that.'

'Cool, one sec.'

[He reaches for a phone, dials a number and starts talking to someone]

'Oh hey man. There's a hot chick here who thinks she's in love with you.... [pause]. Yeah, I'll put her on.'

[Rob Gordon-try-hard passes me the phone]

'Hello?' I ask shyly.

'Oh hey, i'm Spencer Krug.'

'Oh, wow. I really love your stuff. Don't you live in Canada?'

'No honey, i live in Braidwood. I'm coming in to Canberra this afternoon. Would you like to go for coffee?'

We go for coffee and i spend the whole time explaining how much better a song writer he is than Dan Boeckner and how At Mount Zoomer is fundamentally flawed by the fact he let Dan write some songs. Spencer then asks me to play cello for Sunset Rubdown (?) and my Jens Lekman fantasy of having twins and playing for his band is lived out with brilliant Spencer.


Best dream ever? I think so.

Anyway, for me, this album is good, but it certainly isn't the genius i was hoping for. I think this massive media machine got it right. The album is fractured and spastic, and it feels like two very different song writers have separately written a bunch of tunes and stuck them under the banner of 'Wolf Parade'.

Spencer Krug's songs are far superior, and that's not just my bias talking. His songs are darker, more complicated, and his vocals are as twisted and as stunning as ever. Dan Boeckner, however, has provided us with some etchy pop songs with catchy guitar riffs. I'm especially fond of the guitar on 'Fine Young Cannibals'. There are merits to both styles of song writing, i just happen to be of the opinion that Spencer Krug shits all over Dan Boeckner on this album of singles.

This is my favourite Krug track from the album (i think it's also the standout track ),
My favourite Boeckner,

And the only song they wrote together is pretty special too (though no Sunset Rubdown epic),

What do you all think of the album?

I'm giving it a 7.5/10.


Anonymous said...

so, so, so, so wrong there, cupcake. dan is the man, as is spencer. together they make better music than either of them individually. divisive people like you are the reason wolf parade just might break up. also, anyone who cites pitchfork deserves nobody to pay attention to what he or she says. go listen to lil' wayne and fleet foxes.

Jaimie said...

Heh, you're funny. Divisive?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing i want is for Wolf Parade to break up, especially as they haven't had a chance to visit us folks here in Australia yet. And i do like the album, i just don't think it compares to Sunset Rubdown material.

Sure Pitchfork are a bunch of pretentious, money hungry, wankers, but i happen to agree with their review on this occasion.

Fleet Foxes are gorgeous, but grow some balls and get some originality. It's pretty easy to bag out Pitchfork and name drop one of the biggest bands in the current blogosphere.

Jaimie said...

Oh, and does this mean anyone who hypes Fleet Foxes up shouldn't be listened to?