Wolf Parade: Apologies to the Queen Mary

Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)

Jordy: It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been four years since this album dropped.  I remember hearing it that fall of 2005 and thinking “This is exactly how I want rock to sound: fast, hooky, dark, and triumphant.”  Isaac Brock earned his short keep as a Sub Pop A&R man and producer with this record and, in that light, I can only hope that his last four years’ energies haven’t been wasted on mere Modest Mouse albums.  He found this band right when they needed it.  They sound hungry.  (Not that they made any money necessarily.)

The opener “You are a Runner and I am My Father’s Son” is a real ass-kicker and introduces the listener to Spencer Krug’s two greatest offerings: really cool yelping vocals (which aren’t nearly as Tiny Tim-esque as some haters might assert) and pounding keyboard grooves.  I was sticking my waxy earbuds in everyone’s face that October saying, “You have to hear this shit!”

I’ll leave some of the other highlights to Glenn but not before I claim the two greatest back-to-back tracks of the indie era.  “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts”  features Krug’s very best lyrical turns powered by high swirling organ and en invigorating la-la-la chorus and you’d think you couldn’t get higher.  Until the next track.  “I’ll Believe in Anything” is nothing less than a glorious stomping hymn in earnest praise of, well, Anything.  Incredible.  This pair still gives me chills after hundreds of listens.  The songs are truly durable in their form and sentiment.

Glenn: Durable is right, Jordy. I must admit that at first this album struck me as just another indie rock record. “Bound Arcade Pornographers, Broken Social Pitchfork….meh.” That stuff is good but it gets…old. It was about six months later that I found myself humming “You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son” and “Grounds For Divorce” to myself, trying to keep my balance on the snow-slick streets of Chicago in winter. These are solid, catchy songs.

For me, this is a record that sounds like warmth in the midst of cold. I’m not sure why, exactly — perhaps because I first loved it in winter — but it might have to do with the sound of struggle on the record. While the band is a well-oiled groove machine (what indie rock is this furious and yet this danceable?), the songs seem to grapple their way upward from real pain toward sunlight and joy. And not in an emo way, either. When he says, “I need sunshine,” you believe him. Triumph, indeed.

One more thing: remember all those “Wolf” bands circa 2005? That was funny.

4 Essential Tracks:

“You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son”
“Grounds for Divorce”
“Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts”
I’ll Believe In Anything

Buy it


Filed under 2000s, Rock

3 responses to “Wolf Parade: Apologies to the Queen Mary

  1. Blake

    I’m quite sure Jordy introduced me to this album way back when.

    I was hooked immediately on “Grounds for Divorce” and “I’ll Believe in Anything”. I’m quite sure that if kept track of every song I had listened to from 2005 up until right now, that song would be the most played. I still get chills most of time and no music on my iPod is better for a stroll.

    Where’s Phil on this one?

  2. Phil

    The first song I heard on this record was “Sons and Daughters” in my friend’s car, and I was getting out when “I’ll Believe Anything” came on, and I stayed in the car. Catchiest, most passionate, most directly delivered to MY age group than anything I’d heard in awhile. And like all you guys, I wrote this album off until I heard “Dinner Bells” at a coffee shop and I was transfixed. This album is legit. A classic. A modern classic? Either way, these drunks had enough in them to put together a really badass sounding record that was heartfelt, eloquent, and (yes, Glenn) DANCY.

    This record may also have been the last record I remember that ALL of my friends had and knew well. Mixtapes were made with a Wolf Parade song as the highlight; one of my friends put “Modern World” on a tape for me because, she said, “YOU’re not in love with the modern world either.” So true.

    My favorite Wolf Parade memories, though, are the handful of times I danced like an insane person with at least two dozen of my friends to “I’ll Believe Anything.” People try to play it again at parties and it seems to have lost some of its luster, but I think that has more to do with this song being so special in the past than any fault of the song.

    But where is the next common touchstone? What’s the next album that ALL of my friends will know intimately? And who thought this album would have been that common denominator?

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