Best of 2008 #3: Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer

So many of this decade’s finest indie rock debuts, records that marked a new era of definitive alternative music, were followed up with duds. Funeral, Silent Alarm, Franz Ferdinand - these were all followed up by relative shit. Wolf Parade, on the other hand, quietly and patiently crafted an underappreciated epic while they were busy pimping their various side projects. At Mount Zoomer is an exemplary record, concise in its nine songs and yet expansive in its sonic depth and breadth of vision. They once again follow their unique rubric of alternating between Spencer Krug’s literary prog panoramas and Dan Boeckner’s more post-punk rooted urgent anthems. This album finds the band both quite literally at Mount Zoomer (a recording studio) and figuratively at Mount Zoomer, which this critic perceives to be not a real mountain at all but a mound of the detritus of postmodern society. Allusions to technology, communication, transit, and war blur by the listener, while the two distinctive songwriters reflect respectively on the human condition in such a world. Boeckner displays more of the modern world dread that we’ve seen in the past from him, but while he’s so consistently fleeing the trappings of a world built on “100,000 sad inventions” he’s also addressing his place as an outlaw in this society. Krug meanwhile is obsessed with the spaces outside of this world - deserts, rivers, open places in the natural world. However, in the face of Boeckner’s constant suburban flight, he knows that in 2008 all of these are intertwined through the vast network of “roads” - physical, digital, and otherwise - that Wolf Parade bravely navigate through their music. What’s so poignant about this album is that it isn’t cheap and isn’t a protest record. It’s a document of the way we live. It captures the fear and uncertainty of both coming of age and being human in this era through it’s scattered images and emotions. Best yet, it never stagnates as each song sounds as good as the last. At Mount Zoomer is not only a definitive record for this band, but for this world.

Download: Wolf Parade - Call It a Ritual

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