Neon Bible -- Finally
Well, after 3 years of both indie and mainstream hype, Montreal's The Arcade Fire have finally returned with "Neon Bible," the follow up to 2004's modern day indie/mainstream crossover-classic "Funeral" (also known as my father's favorite album of the last 7 years.) Now, children of blogland, I know what you're thinking; "Quick, tell me, how does it stack up? Should I like it? Hate it? What's Pitchfork gonna give it??!"
Well, friends, unfortunately there is no simple answer to any of those questions (except the last, which will be, um, 8.1.) All I can offer you is one man's opinion, and, that opinion isn't too heated in either direction. Rather, I'm not quite sure how to feel about this one yet. Some tracks stand out, and those are damn good, but, as a whole, I'm not sure if the album is as cohesive and exciting as "Funeral" was. Still, it's impossible to deny the power of Win, Regine and the gang's songwriting, as evidenced on a few highlights you'll find below. But, whereas "Funeral" was a completely original punch in the gut, this all sounds a bit too U2-ian for me. Still, it could very well be a grower!
And so, a few personal favorites:
The Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running - This track isn't necessarily a stand out, but rather, is fairly indicitive of the strongest aspects of "Neon Bible's" general sound. The building power of the song is effortless enough to put the numerous Arcade Fire ripoffs that have emerged in the last few years to shame. Plus, a pretty guitar part.
The Arcade Fire - Antichrist Television Blues - For some reason, this one is by far my favorite on the album. Something about it, from the first chord until the astounding and sudden ending, is very grabbing and powerful. Win's lyrics and performance have never been this overdramatic, yet somehow, it really really works. If the whole album sounded like this, I'd be in heaven.
The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go - Not actually a new song, but rather a highly energized rerecording of a song from the band's recently rereleased selftitled EP. And so, obviously, this is the song that is most reminiscent of "Funeral's" dark, orchestral, rocknroll mayhem. And lordy is it sweet.
Well, now that I've chewed up and spit out another high profile upcoming release, I can sleep easier. I'll no doubt be back soon for more.
!!!BONUS MP3!!!! Final Fantasy - This is The Dream of Win and Regine - A song by Owen Pallet (who arranges the strings for the Arcade Fire) about his bandmates. Plus, the title's a Dntel reference!