Arcade Fire releases Neon Bible
Montreal’s indie rock sensation takes a bold step forward
The pressure is on for Arcade Fire. After nabbing the torch The reappearance of “No Cars Go” should please fans that On “(Antichrist Television Blues),” Butler triumphantly declares
from The Strokes in 2003 as the next indie rock band to break dug the group’s EP. A careful listen to the two versions will over a blues progression, “I don’t want to work in the building
into the mainstream with Funeral, the group will release its prove that Arcade Fire’s sound is truly developing; they’re downtown.”
second album, Neon Bible, this Tuesday. The question now not quite the raw, anthem band that they were several years
is what the group will do with its surprisingly youthful energy, ago. Their sound is a bit softer, more refined — synthesizers Still, Arcade Fire’s new record lacks the sheer power of
glorious songwriting, and celebrity endorsements (from David breeze between textured string lines, all pumping underneath Funeral. There is simply no song on here that matches the
Bowie, Coldplay, and others). the accordion melody. And just when you think Arcade Fire force of “Power Out” or “Wake Up.” But a change in sound
has gone all sissy on you, drummer Jeremy Gara pulls out a is always a bold move, and the group has matched a more
Neon Bible wastes no time reminding listeners that the band snappy snare drum pattern to give the track an extra kick. carefully produced album with accessible, innovative, and
members are still the energetic risk-takers that they were catchy songwriting. Go out and grab Neon Bible; you won’t
several years ago. The ground rumbles and sweeps as “Black Church and politics aside, the album is still wrought with regret it.
Mirror” quickly kicks into gear. Chromatic string lines tense up plenty of internal conflict. In “The Well and The Lighthouse,”
and release as pumping acoustic guitars heave underneath Butler pleads, “Left for dead... heaven is only in my head.” Matt Siffert | Assistant Pillbox Editor
lead singer Win Butler, who growls with the same restrained Time signatures jump from an indie rock cranker to a
ferocity he’s had since “Wake Up.” Arcade Fire is back. blues-like shuffle, just as confused as Butler himself.
Grooves have always been a center part of Arcade Fire’s
music, and this record is no different. One of the group’s
best tunes to date comes next with “Keep the Car Running.”
The opening vamp chugs just like the title suggests, with
pizzicato violins and reverbed guitars sticking into the groove
as the ’60s-rock drums shuffle along; Arcade Fire has never
sounded this tight, ever.
Don’t think that Arcade Fire has lost its folk influence though.
Fans of Funeral’s “Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)” will dig
the lullaby-ish hymn that is the new album’s title track. The
brooding melody creeps underneath the breezy texture of a
piano, a simple bass drum thump, and the always-astounding
At the core of Arcade Fire’s music seems to be some
compelling awareness of church and politics — be it the
band members’ five-night stint in New York’s Judson
Memorial Church, or even their cries for freedom in Funeral’s
“Haiti” — and the new record is no different. The fabulous
“Intervention” is glazed with a church organ, while Mr. Butler
cries, “Working for the church while your family dies ... every
spark of friendship and love will die without a home.” And just
as Butler sings, “Hear the soldier groan all quiet and alone” a
simple brush flick on a crash cymbal cues the stampede of
one of the fattest, biggest, freshest bands in the game.
Arcade Fire matrimonial powerhouse Win
Butler and Régine Chassagne are leaders
behind the band’s new album, Neon Bible.
Courtesy of www.roughtraderecords.com
14 music pillbox 03.05.07