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Wolf Parade "Apologies to the Queen Mary" - Retrospective Review


Wolf Parade "Apologies to the Queen Mary" - Retrospective Review

Underappreciated and largely unnoticed, Apologies to the Queen Mary stands as one of the finest indie rock albums of the early 21st century. This debut release from Canadian rockers Wolf Parade, produced by Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, did not chart despite being another standout from Sub Pop. Over time, however, it gradually made its mark within narrower indie circles. As the years passed, the album has increasingly been recognized as influential among subsequent indie rock bands, with almost all retrospective reviews praising its significance. At Melophobe, we've declared Apologies to the Queen Mary the 33rd greatest indie rock album of all time, ranking just ahead of Fever to Tell by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Dan Boeckner's exceptional guitar work, paired with Spencer Krug's momentous and eccentric keyboard lines, created a perfect musical union. Only on Shine a Light was the bass guitar utilized, with Krug stepping into the role of bassist throughout, often playing melodies interweaving with Boeckner's guitar. Grounds for Divorce perhaps best showcases their seemingly effortless chemistry, with Boeckner picking up Krug’s bass notes and transforming them into a powerful, treble-rich guitar melody for the tune’s outro—before Krug returns to that infectious melody himself. On Grounds for Divorce, Krug takes lead vocals alongside being the songwriter. He and Boeckner alternate lead vocals throughout, with Krug’s higher-pitched, frantic style perfectly complementing the instrumentals backing the lyrics.

Krug's vocal style becomes even more chaotic on Fancy Claps, an exceptional deep cut from the record. His double-tracked vocals harmonize to create a beautiful yet unsettling melody. The lower-pitched vocals convey a sense of calm, while the higher-pitched lines introduce an element of chaos to the song. The track culminates with Krug dropping yet another crisp, memorable keyboard line to close it out.

Of the LP's 12 tracks, seemingly only one has gained a respectable amount of notoriety over the years. Often recognized as Wolf Parade's signature tune, especially among Canadian audiences is a Spencer Krug creation, I'll Believe in Anything which frequents indie rock playlists alongside what's left of indie radio. Though I'll Believe in Anything has since garnered well-deserved recognition, by our metrics, the crown jewel of the LP is one of Dan Boeckner's creations—Modern World. This track, the second on Wolf Parade's debut, has made our list of the top 100 greatest indie rock songs of all time.

Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug are dramatically different vocalists, yet their unique sounds complement each other superbly, as perfectly demonstrated in Modern World. Traditionally, neither might be considered "gifted" vocalists in the conventional sense, but they are ideal for their own sound and blend together brilliantly. Krug's tonal barking throughout the closing section of Modern World superbly overlays what I would call the band's most perfected and catchiest riff of the record. Dan Boeckner’s graceful acoustic guitar riff is played flawlessly before Krug layers additional riffs on top, creating sheer indie gold.

Whether it's the catchy keyboard riff closing out It's a Curse, the soothing acoustic line in Modern World, or the bouncing keyboard line that begins the outro of Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts, Wolf Parade exhibits an impressive knack for creating an infectious sound uniquely their own. The band continued its musical golden age with the release of At Mount Zoomer three years later, this time achieving some chart success and once again dropping the jaws of indie rock fans.

As time has progressed, Wolf Parade is held in high regard by those who delve deep into the genre, yet they still remain an undiscovered treasure for many. The creative prowess of Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug, combined with Arlen Thompson’s rock-solid percussive foundation, forms a force to be reckoned with, one that can stand toe-to-toe with any indie act to emerge in the 21st century. On their debut, the band unlocked a progressive yet sonically concise side of indie rock songwriting, distinct from the post-punk or garage rock sounds that dominated the genre at the time. Even though the record sold less than 70,000 copies within a year of its release, its profundity has not been lost on those who are passionate about indie rock. Those who have listened to Apologies to the Queen Mary understand exactly why the record receives top marks from a slew of publications. If there is one 00s era indie rock album to discover this summer, make it this one.


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