Monday, March 05, 2007

Arcade Fire "Neon Bible"

Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: Neon Bible
Label: Merge Records
Release date: 5 March 2007
Genre: Rock
Style: Indie Rock

01. Black Mirror
02. Keep The Car Running
03. Neon Bible
04. Intervention
05. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
06. Ocean Of Noise
07. The Well And The Lighthouse
08. (Antichrist Television Blues)
09. Windowsill
10. No Cars Go
11. My Body Is A Cage
Total running time: 46' 57"

[Arcade Fire - No Cars Go - Live in Amsterdam]

"Like all great albums there were no real precursors to Arcade Fire's astonishing debut. Despite being infused with the pungent stench of death - as indicated by the title, Funeral - it erupted from the speakers with an awe-inspiring vigour that very few, if any, indie rock sets have possessed. In fact, indie rock does scant justice to an album that referenced Haiti, featured snippets sung in French and - while unquestionably a modern artefact - made explicit its regard for 19th-century chamber music in the shape of a surfeit of violins and harps.

For all that, though, and the praise bestowed on it by critics, Funeral wasn't one of 2005's bestselling albums, losing out to the Blunts and Coldplays of this world. Perhaps that's why its follow-up, mostly stunning though it is, sacrifices Funeral's extraordinary flights of fancy in favour of a marginally more conventional template. This time round there are no vampires lurking in the shadows (as there were on Funeral's 'Laika') and fewer masterclasses in disciplined chaos. '(Antichrist Television Blues)' sounds promising but, disappointingly, it strikes the set's sole bum note, being a largely nuance-free homage to Bruce Springsteen, all jaunty boogie woogie and blue-collar imagery ('You gotta work hard and you gotta get paid').

But what remains unchanged is when they're good, really good, as they are on the magical 'Ocean of Noise' and the simmering, church-baiting 'Intervention', the Canadian septet are the greatest art rock group since Talking Heads stopped making sense. In part this is due to frontman Win Butler, who is the singer Ian McCulloch might have been had the Echo and the Bunnymen mouthpiece invested every line with a sense of dread. 'There's a great black wave in the middle of the sea,' he howls on the incredible 'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations', which starts like the B-52s at closing time and ends, a mere three-and-a-half minutes later, with the sound of the earth cracking at the seams.

But then Arcade Fire are that kind of band; dark and unpredictable, explosive and restrained, au fait with global warning yet immersed in their own world. And troubled though they might be by the threat of Armageddon ('Mirror, mirror on the wall, show me where their bombs will fall,' runs the slow-burning opener 'Black Mirror'), for Arcade Fire, if no one else, the future looks rosy." [source]


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