Nothing to Howl, Moon about

Wolf Parade lose some of that appealing furosity in favor of beats

Becky Lang


Wolf Parade

Album: At Mount Zoomer
Label: Sub Pop

if Kurt Cobain had spent some time discovering his feminine side, or had been raised in a cathouse, Nirvana might have ended up sounding something like Wolf Parade. Lose the flannel, add some sparkly digital rhythms and a whole lot of theatrics, and the ’90s might have been a different decade.

Their last LP, “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” was a rock-cabaret celebration of frustration fueled by Dan Boeckner’s ultra-manly growl that occasionally floats into a waifish cry.

“At Mount Zoomer,” which sounds like a title in an anime series made solely for the video game, ditches some of the glitz and adds thick layers of simple, heavy beats, be they banged out on a piano or shaken out with power chords.

Occasionally, this doesn’t work out well. On “The Grey Estates” the soundscape is like a Raveonettes song – a drug-infused set of layers that sound like they come from some fuzzy corner of Los Angeles – but Boeckner’s voice comes out feeling altogether too much like a garage band.

The most memorable track is “Bang Your Drum,” where it becomes obvious that the band lets go and gets nice and weird. It unfolds like a music box, simple and sudden, and works its way into a whimsical chanting chorus.

The album comes with a poster that may actually be better than the music. Drawn with what appears to be watercolor pencils, the poster is a schizophrenic mess of dragons, witches’ houses and army men. Not bad, considering most free posters have the band’s name all over them.

If the tuned-down angst-drama of Wolf Parade inspires you to buy this album, be old-school and buy the hard copy. Digital posters just aren’t that gratifying.