Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Arcade Fire "Neon Bible" (2007) [iTunes Link]

For their second full-length, the Montreal-based seven-or-eight-piece Arcade Fire show themselves capable of Big Rock, as original, and as potentially marquee-topping as TV on the Radio and Sigur Ros. Regardless, the intentional murkiness of these pleasantly anthemic New Wave dirges makes it sound as if the music has already reverberated through a crowded cement stadium. Named after cult author John Kennedy Toole's first novel, Neon Bible is smart and subtle enough to present itself as a personal discovery for every listener, every word to be pored over by fans (as with those of Tori Amos, Pavement, and Radiohead). Surely, lines like "The sound is not asleep/ It's moving under my feet" have already been scribbled onto the margins of countless textbooks. Such words are delivered with less intensity this time, but no less import. For vocal influences, lead singer Win Butler seems to have traded his '80s Bowie in for an '80s Springsteen, at least on the songs "Antichrist Television Blues" and "Windowsill" (though "Intervention" sounds an awful lot like '80s era Go-Betweens). The kitchen sink arrangements include the use of an Eastern European orchestra, pipe organ, hurdy gurdy, and a military choir. [MP3 here].

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