by Carey Murphy and Luke Baumgarten & r & Wolf Parade & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.460524183 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Apologies to the Queen Mary & lt;/a & **** & r & Until recently, Canada's two main exports were marijuana and comedians. You can now add one more to that: kick-ass indie rock 'n' roll. The major distribution point is Montreal; the latest product is Wolf Parade. The band started out opening for the Arcade Fire, before being championed by Issac Brock. Montreal, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse: That's like 2005's holy trinity.
The pedigree has made the hype unreal and, ultimately, insurmountable. Still, Apologies is very good. Populated by convulsive guitar, pulsating drums (or is it pulsating guitar, convulsive drums?), keyboards and electronic flourishes, dense rhythms and harmonies spring from strange places. Dual vocalists plead with and mourn for contemporary existence, mixing technological and pastoral imagery. Sounds kind of fakey-of-the-moment, but the best thing to come from the Montreal scene so far is earnestness, and Wolf Parade has it.
Brock produced these tracks, so there's the Modest-Mousian undercurrent, and there are a few hints of Arcade Fire-style vocal flair, but collaboration is good, and this album remains undeniably Wolf Parade's show. -- Luke Baumgarten
Sigur R & oacute;s & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.460524186 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Takk & lt;/a & **** & r & There are no musicians like Sigur R & oacute;s. Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle bravely tries, but he's only one man. Nobody quite compares in capacity or vision. From & Aacute;g & aelig;tis Byrjun to ( ), Sigur R & oacute;s sets a musical standard that is nearly impossible to match, even for himself. There's beauty in effort, though. The key lies in the mysterious, inaccessibility of the performance (sung in Icelandic). Its sound is elemental, hypnotic, even if it remains incomprehensible.
Takk extends the aesthetic, transforming gorgeous gibberish into the most beautiful noise. "Glosoli" bubbles with barely restrained ecstasy before erupting into an apocalyptic wail of voice and instrument -- it's the sound of angels laying waste to the many unrepentant sinners currently making bad music. "Se Lest" triumphs similarly. "Milano," though, a 10-plus-minute track, seals all deals: a slow drone, pinpricked by precocious keyboards and light snare taps, pleadingly collapses at minute four, then briefly regains composure until minute seven before lulling itself into a sleepy, peaceful trance.
It's an acquired taste, certainly, but it offers sophistication without any obvious peers. -- Carey Murphy