When We Are Wolves announced they were releasing their 5th studio album, “Wrong”, the rumour mill started spinning: the album was going to be different, and in this case, different meant pop. Shocking, right?! A band releasing a new album and trying to push their musical creativity beyond what they have done, and done well, in the past?! Yeah, not so much. But meshing this particular band with “pop”? We were skeptical.. and we did wonder if they would lose that intensity, a huge factor in what got us hooked on this band in the first place.
The first listen felt just like a game of Spot the Difference: being overly analytical to new things rather than actually listening to the album. We don’t recommend that: it doesn’t sound like Invisible Violence, so get over it. Because once you stop comparing it to it’s predecessors, you realize that it’s catchy as fuck and that this new direction they seem to be going in, well, it works for them.
Though it isn’t as musically aggressive, meaning they’ve mellowed down a bit, “Wrong” showcases a predominantly synth-lead groove that takes shape in different songs. You’ve got your catchy, upbeat tunes such as Cynical and title track Wrong (Contrary to what the names may suggest), the more anthemic ones like Au Revoir les Crapules and that-song-that’s-been-in-our-heads-all-week Wicked Games and the ones that have a darker edge to them, taking you straight into an unmistakable trans, like Inconsiderate or even Broken Arrows. Amidst all of them, you’ve even got a stronger, louder one squeezing its way in there: In the Land of the Real. Needless to say, its diverse, showcasing just how versatile this band can be. They do push the boundaries here, yet they manage to do it while keeping their identity. Singer Alexander Ortiz continues to belt it out, Vincent Lévesque adds layer over layer of sinful synth melodies and Pierre-Luc Bégin keeps the troops aligned with his strong, tribal beats.
Wednesday’s album launch was held at Matahari loft: a surprising choice in size, not so surprising choice with it’s the dive bar feel. The party started the second the boys hit the stage, though it remained relatively tamed. (Relatively tamed meaning I only have one busted elbow and 3 new bruises. So keep that in mind.) True to themselves, the guys showed up in their signature black attire/face covered with lace and Bégin lost his shirt right on schedule. Musically, you had a little bit of everything: a couple of new tracks mixed in with fan favourites such as Blue, Paloma and the wickedly delicious Sun. Midway through, it was shaping up to be a successful night, but nothing seemed too atypical from a WAW concert. Queue I Don’t Mind‘s unmistakable disco flavoured bass line. Ortiz relieves himself of playing duties, sticking to singing and dancing, cape and all. And just like that, they reminded us just how entertaining a WAW show is. Sure, it was less hardcore than crowd surfing while playing bass. But the crowd ate it all up nonetheless.
It’s far from being the end for them, folks.
“Wrong” is out now. And with a new album comes a sweet promo tour so check the bands website for concert dates.
About Caroline Royer
NUMTL Founder and Editor-in-chief, Caroline is an Ottawa-born Montrealer who has spent the better part of her life playing and listening to music. Otherwise, she is a diehard Sens fan, freakishly into architecture and industrial design and terrible at staying put for more than 5 minutes.