Arcade Fire - "Neon Bible"

I didn't originally "get" Arcade Fire. This was mostly the fault of those who tried to turn it on to me by comparing it to something. I also attribute this to not understanding alt rock roots, and after I had baptized myself in Talking Heads in 2006, then came back to "Funeral", it all made much more sense. With that all fresh in my mind, I was interested to see where they were going with their next album. I was not prepared, however, for just how good the album was. Start to finish, "Neon Bible" is an outstanding work, and an exciting ride. Artistic expression from talented artists, who are not pressured by commercial success (and they've hit #2 on the Billboard 200 as a new release, so there is most certainly commercial success). One could argue this album is more accessible than "Funeral", and I would be inclined to agree on some points. The musical direction is certainly more clear than it was originally, but that could be solved by repeated listening. The album itself starts subtly with "Black Mirror," which-and I apologize for my hypocrisy regarding comparing Arcade Fire to anything, even if it is comparing it to other Arcade Fire- seems like a musical answer to "Rebellion (Lies)", being dark and brooding instead of the uplifting march that the latter is. It starts in a minor key (can't tell exactly what) and is greatly dissonant, building an unsettling anticipation as it grows louder and louder. The crashing finale of the song is just as unsettling as the body. The album, from this point, continues growing in enormity and in quality, which is in no way saying that "Black Mirror" is the low point of the album, simply because the album has no low point. This is particularly impressive, seeing as one of the songs, the could-be closer "No Cars Go" is not exactly new material, but the material it's from is so obscure and hard to procure that it ends up becoming fresh all over again. The most exciting song on the album, though, is easily "Black Wave/Bad Intentions." I say exciting because it's prospects are wondrous. To my knowledge, it is the first experiment between Arcade Fire and unorthodox time progression. The song starts whimsical and high pitched, with RĂ©gine Chassagne leading an upbeat section, powered by synthesizer, violin, bass and drumming that is deceptively pop sounding, before the song crawls to a halt and Win Butler's voice acts as the beginning of a new movement within the song, leading the song down a more foreboding path, both musically and in tonal progression. The switch is absolutely perfect, and what it signifies is a brave experiment that could become even more prominent come the next album. Even so, the rest of the album is an excellent piece of modern art rock, and a profound achievement for the whole band.


Next time, on The Road To I WRITE LOTS ABOUT 2007 ALBUMS!

Clutch - "From Beale Street To Oblivion

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