We are Wolves
Non Stop Je Te Plie en Deux
2005
B



my French is ragged now. I think We are Wolves’ debut title refers to dark, sullen industrial towers. Or maybe Montreal’s stern winters. I know there are denials and first-person commands involved, not to mention the French complications in verb, subject, and object. The rest is snowy, and I’m often guilty of wishful thinking. I acknowledge that.

Obviously, that’s the way We are Wolves want it. Vague sulfur smells, the result of unknown cerebral tumors and black masses, provoked by deep urban inhaling. These are modern fumes, made, or more appropriately given off, to set us all into the easy throes of oblivion and post-surgical incandescence. We are robots, and yet we’re still scarred and shy from our cuts. Turgid with oil-for-blood and sand-for-money, we have cripples we won’t look in their lame limbs and cross-eyeds we stare past. So, step into their place and screech in their voice, We are Wolves. We invite you to their stead. You make the cranky sort of post-industrial punk music to acknowledge the haze that evolves from having something removed, something torn from our lives borne and snipped.

A Montreal three-piece forming the same spastic tech-rhythms, dark-masked vocals and angular shout-punk of bands like Clinic and Les Georges Leningrad), We are Wolves are proponents of the choleric life in white noise. They pummel disco and electro beats into great distorted blocks of static and noise, chanting and shouting their vocals back and forth, like a call and response drag race in broken-down strips, tail-lighting the dawn. These are the skeletons of Brando and Dean gone gangrenous with a toxicity that swells the night with green foam and odd light. Join the fray and tangle.

Split between caustic instrumentals and neon-jungle vocal grooves, Non Stop Jet e Plie en Deux is at its best when it growls without bothering for backstory. “Snare Me” uses a vague four-four beat to introduce its cranky refrains, storm-proof guitars and a hook-filled chorus that will steer your car. Again, the band’s lyrics and back-and-forth responses require your imagination to work in key. I think it’s about spiders. Or hold-ups and Slushees and loosely-bound pigtails coming free at bar-time.

Elsewhere, the band uses that same energy to sound alarum. “Little Birds” screams out with buzz-saw tones and electronic hand-claps. As the band begins to find its voice amidst the noise, the track suddenly swells into a grand industrial groove. “L.L. Romeo” is likewise its own accidental electrocution, starting out friendly but with understated aggressions and ending with a radio elbowed into a body-full tub and very few regrets. Sick twitching guitars swell into a massive earth-leveling squall. Squawking and grinding and throbbing, the band distills its power into its rhythms here, and the effect is infectious.

Unfortunately, We are Wolves stalls its early gains on their instrumentals. “Namai-Taila-Cambodge (Go-Tabla-Go)” is a frustrating tabla-jam without the resolve to gain steam or layer in dense progressions. Driven by the barest resources of rhythm and groove, amongst discordant guitar shards and electronic noise, the song brings the album’s diesel start to a grind. Perhaps worse, “Vosotros, Montrous” emulates the dated Teutonic-stomp of Primal Scream, more clamor and squeal than movement. It’s a graceless dissolution to the boundless creativity the band showed early, and all the more disappointing by comparison.

And so, by album’s end, I’m forced to admit I might be wrong. The band’s French-Canadian title has little to do with the dank gleam of sky-towers and post-industrial malaise. It’s a refusal and a command, in any language and with any punctuation, to just fucking stop and beg and storm. With this promising debut, We are Wolves have got the last two down. When they cop the inherent restraint in the first, they may prove worthy of proper worship.


Reviewed by: Derek Miller
Reviewed on: 2005-06-09
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