Canadian indie rockers stretch their forelegs
Elegance is not among indie rock’s most common values, but Quebec’s Wolf Parade doles it out with a side of snarl. Like debut Apologies to the Queen Mary, the band’s sophomore LP is as shaggy and sharp as the its lupine muse: Fierce, but Wolf Parade is too cagey to sacrifice discipline for ferocity; they attack with tact. On “Call It a Ritual,” a terse piano vamp circles like a crafty predator before the guitars move in for the kill. As this album is more spacious and relaxed than the band’s debut, it really allows Wolf Parade’s graceful songwriting to shine through. They’re masters of adroitly braided melody: On “Soldier’s Grin,” melodic lines helix together like a medieval round. Hadji Baraka’s spacey synthesizer embellishments remain subtle, but are more crucial than ever before in this cavernous, craggy context. Post-punk has seldom sounded so refined.