Album Review: WRONG
We Are Wolves
Fantôme Records (2016)
Montreal’s multilingual dance punk, indie-rock trio, We Are Wolves, has unleashed to the world their fifth studio album, WRONG, and it amounts to a 40-minute hit-and-miss ride through 1980s nostalgia.
We Are Wolves’ sound has always been defined by heavy use of synthesizers, and every synth on this album is cut from the same cloth as those from the dance rock and synth-pop era of the second British invasion.
This retrogression works better on some tracks than others.
The album manages to start and stop on two great notes with the first and last tracks, “Inconsiderate” and “Dislocation,” being a couple of the album’s strongest. They both build a hypnotic and eerie texture, making use of chanting vocals with reverbed lead singing, and distorted, grimy guitar riffs making these songs more raw than anything in between.
“In the Land of The Real,” with its loud, heavy-handed guitar, and “Au revoir les crapules,” with the intensity of its French vocals, both grasp at the level of energy of the album’s first and final tracks, but they come up short.
The lead song is followed by two tracks, “Cynical” and “Wicked Games,” that feel jarringly sterile with clean vocals, very light synths, fast, light drumming and a guitar that jumps into light riffs before fading into the background, making for the dullest and most nurtured sounding songs on the album.
The Tracks “I Don’t Mind,” and “Unknown Flowers” take on a slower, groovier mood, taking advantage of some of the heavier retro sounds this album had to play with, creating very low energy songs that are pleasant and easy listening.
A few of the songs, including the title track, don’t work as well with the vintage beats, and are not bad, but are mostly just forgettable when compared to other tracks.
There is an interesting sound on WRONG, it’s definitely not the aggressive balls-to-the-wall sound of their first album, and it’s not the mostly guitar-driven, dance punk, indie-rock sound that the band is known for.
Even though some songs fall short, this vague, synth-influenced group has enough to make WRONG sonically interesting and enjoyable enough to warrant at least one listen.