The Arcade Fire

Neon Bible

Written by: TL on 04/04/2007 00:39:50

When speaking of the indie/new wave movement, there's one band that's been on everyones lips since their debut album "Funeral" came out in 2004, and that band is The Arcade Fire. With Funeral, the Canadian multi-instrumentalists fortified themselves as a name to be mentioned alongside shooting stars like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and cult acts like Bright Eyes. With the natural amount of hype that kind of publicity comes with, it's no wonder why fans have been feeling more fear than expectation about the follow up record, as it seemed it would be all too easy to take a wrong turn and come up with something that would leave much to be desired in comparison to the debut.

That fact alone is almost reason enough to start crediting Win and co. for their efforts on the brilliant "Neon Bible", taking a leap of faith stylistically while still landing on an expression that's incredibly fresh and fascinating, yet familiar and true to the identity of the band. Much like The Killers did on their recent "Sams Town", The Fire seems to have let themselves be inspired by the so-called "Great American rock song". Not only does the bands' use of strings, horns, pianos, gospel choirs and more, add to the over the top drama of the record and remind you of good old Bruce Springsteen, but on songs like the uplifting "(Antichrist Television Blues)" and the moody "Windowsill", Win Butlers' vocal style sounds more than a little like "The Boss" did back in his prime.

In it's soundscape this album is a paradox. At most times there's going to be a thunder of drums or a melancholic piano/choir/organ element making you feel like these are the final few metres of air the world is falling through before we all slam into the obliterating ground, but in spite of this, more than half the songs on this record make you feel like dancing around, oblivious to your surroundings, and have a naive uplifting feel to them. Fans of the band might remember this phenomenon from the brilliant song "Rebellion", that even though its content was about being bitter with death, still managed to come off positive. On the new record, this feeling is unmistakably present in songs like the already mentioned "(Antichrist Television Blues)" and "The Well And The Lighthouse" while it is simply incarnated in the shining star of the record, namely the breathtaking and mindnumbing "Keep The Car Running".

To me, it seems that this is exactly what this record is about. Keeping the car running. Marching on in the face of adversity. In the face of defeat. In the face of doom. Marching on? DANCING on! Singing on! Preserving your faith and rejoycing about the world we live in, even if it does seem you're playing it one vs everybody most of the time. What The Killers gave a shot last year, The Arcade Fire just nailed in the bulls eye with this record, and I can't find any ground for not recommending it for its beauty, its finish, and for the way it's more than likely to be an encouragement on many a bad day. Fans rest assured, there's no reason to not keep loving The Arcade Fire.

Download: Keep The Car Running, Black Waves/Bad Vibrations, (Antichrist Television Blues)
For the fans of: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bright Eyes, The Killers
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 06.03.2007
Merge Records

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