If one only looks at the major record label releases from 2005 they will most likely be very unimpressed. Besides the White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand few big name bands performed up to par. Several big time bands completely bombed out this year, Weezer and Oasis to name a few, leaving '05 with a sorry looking lineup.
This is quite unfortunate because, in reality, several indie bands released outstanding albums that deserve recognition. The best of these indie releases, and best album of the year, is Wolf Parades debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary.
Wolf Parade is a four piece ensemble hailing from Montreal. After their self-released EP in 2004 the band was discovered by Modest Mouse front man, Isaac Brock, who helped the band with their production of Apologies to the Queen Mary.
Brocks influence is quite obvious throughout the album and boosts this album from simply being good to being absolutely captivating. Id like to think that Wolf Parade was able to think up all the layers of vocals and instruments themselves, but I have a hunch Brock had a lot to do with it. Hopefully Wolf Parade is able to make follow up albums just as great as their debut without the influence of Brock, so they can establish their own identity.
Anyways, Wolf Parade features two lead singers, Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, who sing together on about every track but switch off their roles on a track by track basis. Krug tends to have more of a unique voice youd expect to hear on an alternative-indie album, while Boeckner has the more modern, unabashed growl many would associate with the grunge style.
Wolf Parade tends to produce songs with two or three layers of guitar and more often than not a simple piano arrangement. On most songs Boeckner sings Krug lends backing vocals reminiscent of those one would find on Good News for People Who Love Bad News.
The album opens with a Krug track, You Are a Runner and I am My Fathers Son. This intro is a bit different from the rest of the tracks on the album in the sense that the simplistic cymbals and snare of Arlen Thompson along with a simple piano progression form the driving force of the song.
Modern World is the next song and sets the tone for the rest of the songs from Boeckner. If you find yourself unpleased with Modern World youre probably not going to like the other Boeckner songs, which is essentially half the album.
The only real rough track to get through on the entire album is the Boeckner written Same Ghost Every Night. Boeckner decides to howl the lyrics with about the same vocal control of a young boy cracking his way through puberty. As you can probably guess this doesnt make for the most pleasant listening experience, but does make for the only skippable track on the album.
Boeckner more than makes up for this blemish though with the next song on the album, Shine a Light. Shine a Light along with the next two Krug songs, Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts and Ill Believe in Anything make the highlight of the album and three of the best songs from 2005.
Apologies to the Queen Mary as an album takes a couple listens all the way through the album to fully appreciate its vast range of excellence. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of Modest Mouse or indie rock and general should give this album a chance. It has eleven songs no one should be without.
$= Great song worth your money
Download= Good song
Skip= Average Filler
Garbage= Terrible track
1. You Are a Runner and I Am My Fathers Son- $
2. Modern World- $
3. Grounds for Divorce- $
4. Built Another World- Download
5. Fancy Claps- Download
6. Same Ghost Every Night- Skip
7. Shine A Light- $
8. Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts- $
9. Ill Believe in Anything- $
10. Its a Curse- $
11. Dinner Bells- Download
12. This Hearts on Fire- Download
Shameless Self Promotion
My Best Albums of 2005
Sunset Rubdown- Shut Up I Am Dreaming