I really don’t want to get into reviewing records here, but you guys have got to be educated about this band. Arcade Fire is a 7 (yes seven) piece band out of Montreal Canada, and they are phenomenal. I have been listening to their last record, Neon Bible (2007) for about a month straight.
The sixth track on the record, Oceans of Noise, is an apt description of most of the songs on this record. The seven members of the band play all kinds of instruments ranging from the standard guitars, drums and bass to church organs, pianos, violins, violas, tubas, accordians and even a hurdy gurdy. The result is sonic landscapes that I have not heard in a long time. Enthralling.
Additionally, lead singer Win Butler’s vocals are hauntingly good. He won’t be winning American Idol anytime soon, but he is not trying to. He has something more to offer. His Springsteen-esque melodies invoke emotion, and that, after all, is what it’s all about.
Finally, and most importantly, these guys have something to say. Their first full length record (Funeral, 2004) seemed a bit internal and reflective (not that that’s a bad thing). Neon Bible is more external. Lyrically, the songs seem rather critical our generation’s general numbness towards meaning and it’s propensity to fit the mold. In AntiChrist Television Blues, Butler sings “….I don’t wanna work in the building downtown.. Parking their cars in the underground.. their voices scream but they don’t make a sound..” Personally, I can relate to this. It’s numbing to get up every morning and dread going to work; to have the same job that you had for years and do the same thing that you have done for year and hate what you have been doing…for years, etc. etc. etc…We have this mentality that there is no other real option. “It’s overwhelming, but what else can we do? Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute.” Anyway, Arcade Fire is saying something. It’s interesting…and I like it.
All that said, Arcade Fire is not for everybody. If you are looking for cookie-cutter radio hits, you won’t find them here. If you are looking for pristine vocal lines that have been auto-tuned to the 9’s, again, you won’t find them. Arcade Fire provides raw energy and emotion. Some think its annoying; I think it’s brilliant.