Arcade Fire have seemingly always been under the spotlight - on the back of an amazing live show and a self-released EP, the group was signed to Merge Records, and a great deal of excitement built for their debut Funeral
After that album was released, the group went all over the world touring, then set about creating the follow-up, which was anticipated with almost breathless excitement in many circles.
In many ways, Neon Bible
sounds just like I imagined it would, although it is more expansive, tackles larger subjects lyrically, and throws even more unique instrumentation into the mix. It makes use of some very peculiar but effective production in places, calling to mind a definite 80's influence, while largely refusing to play it safe. For the most part, it's the sophomore release without a stumble.
Like the band's debut, the opening half of Neon Bible
is near airtight, with song after song locking into my head. Opener "Black Mirror" gets things going with its claustrophobic feel, a driving rhythmic track with swirling vocal effects, dense string arrangements, and flourishes of horns, all giving it the feel of a fairytale gone bad.
If that opener was a dive into deep waters, "Keep The Car Running" shoots back upward to part the clouds with bright layered instrumentation and a gait that reminds one of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire". But in many ways "Intervention" is the biggest-sounding song on this release, opening with pipe organ and acoustic guitar, and gradually building into a grandiose piece that make it one of the group's most powerful numbers.
The album then veers wildly into the two part "Black Wave / Bad Vibrations" cramming two disparate sounds into what is one short track. Opening with a sort of dark wave Go-Go's- sounding section with vocals by Régine Chassagne, it morphs into a dark and downcast rumbler that grinds along to its finale.
by Reviewer: Aaron Coleman
(blogging at Almost Cool Music Reviews