Posted by: will | April 3, 2007

Arcade Fire…

Arcade Fire “Neon Bible” (Merge)

Buy it at Insound!

First off, Arcade Fire are not going to save Rock ‘n’ Roll. They are not the greatest band to come out in the last twenty years. They are not even the best Canadian band to come out in the last five years. Heaven knows why this band is sharing stages with U2 and David Bowie so early in their career…frankly, I can not explain it. I, for one, find myself to be quite tired of all the press Arcade Fire are receiving. It is sad that I am already burnt out on the band and Neon Bible is only their second full-length album.

With all of that out of the way, Arcade Fire are certainly a good band…I do not mean to imply anything otherwise. Their first album, Funeral, was a fine piece of work but not all that original. The band came out of nowhere to overwhelm the indie rock underground though. Funeral put Arcade Fire into rare indie rock territory and you could see the band was on the verge of mainstream consciousness. Neon Bible will surely continue to see the band’s ascent away from the indie rock scene.

There is a subtle, but noticeable, departure for the band. While the band’s signature sound is still intact here, there is a sharp turn lyrically to the likes of working class Springsteen material. Frankly, the move feels uneasy and comes off as a bit insincere. Too often, the band resorts to gimmickry as well. Sure full orchestras and vocal choirs sound nice but one begins to wonder if the band can write songs without resorting to pulling out something from their anthemic bag of tricks. However, just when you are ready to dismiss them, Arcade Fire prove their worth with some magical songs on Neon Bible. The band remains at their best on songs that feel as though they could have been lifted straight from sessions for Funeral. Songs like “Keep The Car Running”, “Intervention”, “Ocean Of Noise” and “No Cars Go” sound like they are expanding on the bright horizons that Funeral presented. The epic album closer, “My Body Is A Cage”, is a nice change of pace for Arcade Fire and shows the band is quite capable of deserving the hype.

The last thing I wanted to do when writing this review was to heap more praise on Arcade Fire’s shoulders…the band surely does not need anymore. However, as much as I have downed the band and Neon Bible, I do feel the album slowly growing on me even against my wishes. That should say something towards the band’s obvious talent. Arcade Fire has presented an album that eschews the sophomore slump while not necessarily delivering on the full promise of their debut. The band certainly has the talent to deliver just that in the future. The only question is if the hype machine will still be so firmly in place.

RIYL: Talking Heads, David Bowie, The Pixies


Arcade Fire – Intervention (mp3)

Arcade Fire – Black Mirror (mp3)



  1. I don’t get all the praise this band and this album is getting either. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re a good band. Both of their albums are good albums in my opinion but I fail to notice the “greatness” factor that the critics hail so much lately.

  2. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to this band. It just won’t be fun.

    The “Indie” praise machine can sometimes be just as arbitrary as the commercial ones. There is so much great music out there. Why do people need to focus so hard on the few? … hoping for some sort of revolution?

  3. you’re so stupid. you obviously don’t read any music blogs or you’d know that the arcade fire are THE best canadian band to come out of canada in the last 5 years. david bowie and kirtsten dunst can’t be wrong dude. maybe you should head over to k-mart and pick up some indie sensibilities and then get back to me. in the meantime i’ll be bawling my eyes out to that song about the car and churches and shit.

    april fools!

    you’re right on the money. f’ the hype.

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