Biting Back

Wolf Parade's Arlen Thompson takes the time to critique the critical responses to his band's new release

Montreal indie-rock quintet Wolf Parade—relentlessly championed by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock—made a huge splash in 2005 with their exhilarating debut full-length, Apologies to the Queen Mary. Three years later, they’re back with a follow-up, At Mount Zoomer.

Over the phone, Wolf Parade drummer Arlen Thompson gives us his take on some of Zoomer's reviews, although he admits he doesn't read too many of them—certainly, at least, not as many as he says his parents do. They "love keeping up on it," Thompson says. "They call me up if they see something good. They get really excited."

Here's Thompson's own take on a couple of those reviews:

"While recording the follow-up to its lauded debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary, Wolf Parade sent a note to Sub Pop saying there were no singles on the new record. That's a lie. At Mount Zoomer may be prog-damaged and pervasively weird, but there are at least three or four potential singles here." (The Hartford Courant)

AT: Yeah, the "no singles" thing seems to come up a lot. That was put in the bio, and I don't think the letter had as much weight to it as it's being made out to be. It was something where our A&R guy at Sub Pop was bugging us, like, "What's the first single?" and we were, like, "Ahh, we don't think there is any," and then somehow that got blown up into this thing where we're making this "statement."

I mean, a lot of it was us wanting to make an album that's more complete, and it does kinda feel like one fluid gesture as opposed to more of a collection of songs like Apologies was, so there's some truth to it. But it wasn't any sort of hard edict that we laid on Sub Pop before we handed in the record.

"How you will, or will not, take to the book-learnin' Canadian indie-rock five-piece Wolf Parade's second album depends entirely on your relationship to the art of the yelp. If you have an itch you can never scratch for whoopingly hollered songs about radio waves being "like snow," then Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner's band will be like a welcome ice cube on a mosquito bite. If you don't, they will become the mosquito." (The Guardian)

AT: [Laughs] Yeah, the British don't like us very much. Maybe 'cause we're from a former colony that's doing good or something—upstaging the motherland.

I dunno, people think we're pretty yelpy—I don't get that. I guess Spencer's a little yelpy, but Dan's more of a crooner, I've always thought. I guess we yelp a lot in the background. I don't think we're the mosquito. I think we're just more of an itch. We're what gets under the skin.

 
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