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Arcade Fire – Neon Bible March 6, 2007

Posted by Walt in mini-review.
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Montreal-based Arcade Fire is the music world’s anti-Polyphonic Spree. It’s not a happy-happy world for Win Butler and his bandmates (however many there are today). The septet’s 2nd album which arrived today is the follow-up to the much-beloved “Funeral” from 2004.

I love the ambition of this album. I don’t think these folks would ever just phone it in. Does it always work? No, not quite. Is it thrilling when it does? Yes.

As it turns out, I particularly like the even numbered tracks. #2 – “Keep the Car Running” starts with strings and a great beat, almost a swing dance sound. #4 – “Intervention”: I’ll bet you’ve never before heard a pipe organ and glockenspiel on a rock track. Now you have. And of course lyrics like “Working for the church while your family dies”. Great track. #6 – “Ocean of Noise”, #8 – “(Antichrist Television Blues)” is apparently about father of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, #10 – “No Cars Go” is a cover of an Arcade Fire song from their 2003 EP.

I’m not as fond of “Neon Bible” and the first half of “Black Wave / Black Vibrations”. I’m not too fond of Regine Chassagne’s voice as a lead.

Even when a song is not entirely satisfying, the band is. They are taking chances. I just hope they take more, and don’t take another 3 years to record another album. 

9 out of 10

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