My very first reaction to this new track: Arcade Fire sounds like dance pop! No doubt a result from working with both David Bowie and James Murphy. Yes, they were leaning this way for some time, but I get the strange feeling of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. Don’t get me wrong, I was preparing myself for Neo-Arcade Fire since their previous album, The Suburbs, which is known to be the album that punched hardcore Lady Gaga fans in the face at the 2010 Grammy Awards. The first half of the record was similar to the band’s original music, but as it progressed, the songs sounded more pop approved (“Sprawl II” for example). That being said, I was hoping for this album to be at least a cross between the two, like before, and not a full immersion into dance pop. Seeing that this is a double album, the band will still most likely appeal to a wide range of fans. Some 50+ songs were written for the album, so one could imagine that there will be twists and turns to please any listener.
Arcade Fire has always been that giant indie group who play artistic rock and do great live, but their albums are more then a rush of adrenaline. In the case of their first album, Funeral, the instrumentation was awe-inspiring, and the lyrics were like bittersweet emotional lullabies that stood coherent to the album’s title. The next release, Neon Bible, took everything from before, added an assortment of politics and social paranoia, and made it about ten times darker. Lead singer, Win Butler, became more like an activist from then on, depicting the downfall of suburban living in none other than The Suburbs. Fans of the group have been anticipating their next release for some time, but now it is finally here. Surprisingly, I am not disappointed with the new single/album opener, but if I were to hear this band for the first time today, I would not be as impressed. It is a good thing that I do know the band well, because I know that something big is coming.
The new single, “Reflektor”, is actually the longest song that Arcade Fire has released to date (“Vampire Forest Fire” is a close second place). I think people would agree that it definitely has a 1980’s feel to it, along with an assortment of new instruments. The band is definitely expanding their sound, which can be both good and bad at the same time. What has changed from three years back? For starters, the band is no longer the orchestra that it once was, for only six members remain (Not sure what happened to Sarah Neufeld). Win Butler still plays the “activist” role, however, and this time the album seems to represent the disfunction of the digital age, which does sound fitting. Their sound has obviously become more like disco, but is the band merely embracing the glamorous pop culture, or are they trying to prove a point? One thing I do know is that a band like Arcade Fire does not go into the world of music without having a few tricks up their sleeves, and that is why I am very much looking forward to this new album.