Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Cover Artwork)

Wolf Parade

Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)

Sub Pop

It's safe to say there's been enough buildup surrounding the release of this album to fill in any lesser album, but where Apologies finally satisfies in ways earlier releases couldn't is in perhaps the simplest of ways: amount and variety. Not that past releases haven't been good -- they were -- or engaging, but there is only so far twenty minutes of music can take you. Finally tackling a full-length (albeit one that isn't necessarily lengthy either) leaves Wolf Parade with much more room to expand their sound and fully realize the nuances that can bring opposing pieces together.

Granted there is nothing inherently special about Apologies, and while it's nearly obligatory to reference Modest Mouse or the Arcade Fire, from which there are clear similarities, the successes here are far more subtly embedded within the interplay of the songs and their differences. "Same Ghost Every Night" is particularly epic, yet leads its unassuming delicacy into the pounding stomp of "Shine a Light." Perhaps even more surprising is how this adds to the latter, drawing a stark distinction between the emotions and the zeal for unassuming ramblings -- even if both are present in some sense in them all. So while the pieces are unassuming and somewhat expected, the linkage between them is what is ultimately satisfying. So while it's simple to attribute its likeability to the recent breakout successes from both styles, doing such is merely a cursory observation; in truth, the album continually plays off contrasting elements: The youthful exuberance of "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son" or the mechanical delivery in "Modern World;" the atmospherics in "Dinner Bells" and the straightforward build through "I'll Believe in Anything."

With more time to expound on each section than in the past, Apologies sees Wolf Parade increasingly cognizant in controlling the back and forth movement, with plenty of time to switch off, thus fully realizing each section. The album is neither smooth nor deterred; while moments are choppy in their zeal for bounding effects, others smooth it out with slowly fashioned pieces that ease into the differing moods. The vocals are consistently strong, rough and steady, and they convey that underlying emotion without any manipulation and maintain an approachable edge. This multifaceted approach finds room for pieces that should seem foreign or at least somewhat intrusive surrounded by such contrasting approaches, which only enhances the flow of the album.

Apologies finally finds Wolf Parade coming into their own, allowing themselves time to fully expand their sound and manipulate the mood and approach to maximize the effect. And while it's not without its points of contention and the inevitable debate of which version of previously released songs is better, the ease with which they manipulate different approaches into an amalgam of focused, affective and catchy songs is impressive, and all the more satisfying.