Release Date: Feb 23, 2010
Record label: +1
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Electronic
While their last LP was Total Magique in every sense, Montreal trio We Are Wolves up the ante by further exploring their fist-pumping mélange of garage, electro, post-punk and indie rock. [rssbreak] Opener Paloma is straight-up rock, and explodes with a fierce, scream-along chorus that's as catchy as it is aggressive, while Walking Commotion marries Joy Division's bass and drums with Pixies' snarling guitars to produce spooky, paranoid awesomeness. On Reaching For The Sky, WAW hit the dance floor full-on, with clubby, arpeggiated synths leading the assault.
It's a mark of cultural saturation that 2007's Total Magique, the second album by Montreal's We Are Wolves, feels stale only three years later. It's not that Total Magique has aged poorly; that album, with its multi-lingual lyrics, blistering, noisy synthesizer melodies, and aggressive rhythms, holds up well given the mass exhaustion with its dance-punk genre. But We Are Wolves' overall approach, as proved by their latest, Invisible Violence, has worn thin.
Alright, seriously. When did the wolf become the symbol of cool for the hipsters and indie scenesters alike? When did wearing a musty, oversized sweatshirt bearing a howling wolf that you wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing as a child get pushed to the front of your wardrobe rotation? And when the hell did “Get at me wolf!” become something you shouted at your buddies when you’re all liquored up on Saturday nights? Truly puzzling stuff. I think about bands with raw appeal, like Wolfmother and bands with indie cred and synth-laden hooks to boot, like Wolf Parade.
I can forgive a lot in the name of a good pop song. I can ignore that this band is a dance rock holdover in a post-Rapture indieverse. I can fail to take the obvious snark bait presented by Montreal indie rockers with a form of “wolf” in their name. For a few really great hooks, I could even refrain from making a joke about We Are Wolves saving the money they might otherwise spend on a fourth album and investing in a time machine to carry them back to 2001 (where, like some protected species of wolf, they could be released into their natural habitat).
First impressions here honk open a synth figure and guitar burp straight out of MGMT, with just enough Death From Above 1979 to assure you this clanging Montreal trio is sérieux. That's when "Paloma" veers rock en Español, Control Machete meets Plastilina Mosh, so by the time it crests with fingers snapping, We Are Wolves aren't the only ones jumping around singing "Pa-lo, Polamita mia." It's as thrilling an opening as all 2009 clattered, and Invisible Violence rarely lets up. Krautrock mosher "Holding Hands" collides Animal Collective and Ratatat circa 1985, and "Walking Commotion" pushes its own Pretty Hate Machine.