Talk about a thrill ride. Wolf Parade's highly anticipated debut full-length is the kind of heart-pounding, emotional roller coaster we'll gladly take again and again -- except the line to jump onboard is bound to get longer. Hailing from Montreal, North America's latest indie-rock capital, the quartet is tight with hometown sensation the Arcade Fire and has the blessing of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock (who produced three-quarters of the tracks here). That's a lot of hype to live up to, but Wolf Parade does more than elaborate on Modest Mouse's off-kilter stomp-and-swagger ("You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son") or the Arcade Fire's melodramatic swoon ("I'll Believe in Anything"). "Shine a Light" has a driving rhythm guitar reminiscent of the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray," "Fancy Claps" kicks into kinetic postpunk with strong synths and guitar, and "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts" grooves with keyboardist Spencer Krug's jagged Bowie-biting vocals. Queen Mary
starts simple but quickly goes grandiose, with layers of rumbling percussion, morphing pop melodies and Hadji Bakara's swooshing, spacey electronic effects propelling these tunes into the stratosphere. The same will surely happen to this band's career.