Vancouver’s 41st &Home are making an ambitious brand of indie rock that is both expected and surprising. It’s expected because the record can sit comfortably on the shelf next to the sprawling and anthemic music of popular Canadian bands Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. It’s surprising because this record still feels honest and fresh.
Raised By Wolves, which clocks in at just under half an hour, is the second record from 41st & Home, following 2010’s Left In Places. It was recorded in a garage instead of a studio and engineered in-house by bass player George Knuff. It was also done quickly—they finished it in less than a month. It doesn’t sound like a quick d.i.y. project, though. This is a lyrically refined and polished piece of work with carefully scripted dynamics and expansive soundscapes.
The EP’s lyrics are world-weary and self-aware. “God I know I’m young / But I’ve got things to lose,” sings Thom Kolb on “Memory Boy.” There is a sober maturity here that’s greater than many bands ten years their senior. That’s not to say they can’t have fun—standout track “Gorbachev” sounds like a summertime hit in spite of a serious anti-violence message.
What’s most exciting about this band is that they have attempted something tough and succeeded. The only thing that’s missing is ten more minutes of music, then we could call this a full album instead of an EP— because the record is more vast than the term EP implies.