We Are Wolves - Non-Stop Je Te Plie en Deux (Cover Artwork)

We Are Wolves

Non-Stop Je Te Plie en Deux (2005)

Fat Possum

We Are Wolves, much like fellow Montreal denizens the Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade, have a sound that could make them the next Pied Piper of hipsters everywhere, yet they seem to lack the same songwriting skills and depth of their Canadian peers. Instead, their noisy dance-punk numbers often grow grating thanks to their sparse soundscapes, synthetic tone, and repetitious nature.

The album opens with a screechy siren synth wail before a dance beat and fuzzy guitar riff kick in. Next come the shouting-through-a-broken-megaphone vocals. This might be "Little Birds," but it could pretty much be any song on the album. Formulaic isn't always an insult, some bands are able to latch on to a certain style and bang out great song after great song, but for We Are Wolves each song seems like it must fulfill a list of prerequisites the band determined upon forming.

Dance beat; check. Noise guitar line; check. Some synth noises; check. Shouting some cryptic phrases; check. Well guys, looks like you've got another song in the can.

Sometimes We Are Wolves stumble onto one of Polysics' more melodic moments, or one of Kill Me Tomorrow's more interesting passages, but for the most part they seem trapped in their limited formula.

Even the high-strung energy that can keep dance-based bands interesting seems lacking here. The drums may be live, but the beats are so repetitive and their tone so electronic and lifeless that it seems a drum machine could do the job just as well. Sometimes the guitar, synth, and vocals seem to be wrapped in fuzz and overdrive simply to make up for a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the band.

Some people will probably argue that this is a great mash-up of noise and dance, a melding of spastic bursts and well-rooted grooves, but the problem is that while We Are Wolves may have intended to create music that symbolizes an intersection of chaos and order, the final product doesn't come off that way. Instead we are left with an album that drones on like a rickety old machine that is discordant, monotonous, and mechanical.