Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

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Neon Bible by Arcade Fire
Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

Album Released: 2007

Neon Bible ::: Artwork

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1.Black Mirror4:13
2.Keep The Car Running3:29
3.Neon Bible2:16
5.Black Wave / Bad Vibrations3:57
6.Ocean Of Noise4:53
7.The Well And The Lighthouse3:56
8.Antichrist Television Blues5:07
10.No Cars Go5:43
11.My Body Is A Cage4:47


The magical, child-like view portrayed by Arcade Fire of family death and of childhood passing will never be recaptured - this time around they have bigger things on their mind, such as floods, war, television, and religion.

Musically, not a lot has changed, Neon Bible retains that sense of 'wobbliness' that so enriched tunes like the amazing "Tunnels". That takes me to another point - "Tunnels" is a song likely to reside in my favourite-ever-songs list. Its allure was going to be impossible to repeat, and so it proves to be. Neon Bible has to overcome the fact we know what we're looking for from Arcade Fire now. Whatever they throw up has a yardstick by which to be measured.

Differences then? Well, one song sounds like Bruce Springsteen. One song sounds like Echo and The Bunnymen, and another like a cross between The Beatles, ELO and outer-space. That sense of wonderful 'wobbliness' I mentioned? "Tunnels" had it, and so does "Black Mirror", as if the band aren't really here at all and the music is merely being beamed in from higher spiritual beings.

The mix on a song such as "Black Mirror" is intriguing. I'm a guy that equally likes a wall of sound or being able to clearly pick out each and every instrument. "Black Mirror" isn't so much a wall of sound as a shifting mirage of sand appearing in the middle of an ocean. It's difficult to know what to make of it all. It's no "Neighbourhood" then, but it's still an impressive introduction.

Equally at the other end, "My Body is a Cage" impresses, although for different reasons. It's something new for the band - a real church organ combines with a marching band and twisted loathing to produce a markedly darker moment than anything on Funeral.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

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.

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by Reviewer: Aaron Coleman (blogging at Almost Cool Music Reviews)

The critically-acclaimed Funeral meant that Neon Bible was one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of 2007. Impressively, it doesn′t disappoint in any way.

While Neon Bible does lack the charged guitar and unhinged vocals that made Funeral so immediately enchanting, the slightly more restrained approach here is more a different slant from the band than a lapse in inspiration or quality.

Rather than dulling the group′s impact, the more refined and disciplined sound of Neon Bible simply provides a different angle for Arcade Fire to work from. And as other commentators have noted, the band's anthemic sound is almost like a more organic version of early-80's rock, stuff like Springsteen, Echo & The Bunnymen, and early U2.

The album′s flow and intelligent sequencing, with tracks seguing into each other, almost feels like a progressive rock suite. For example, even if the title track doesn′t stand out individually, it works perfectly as a respite between the acoustic guitar driven intensity of "Keep the Car Running" and the grandiose church organ of "Intervention". And while there′s a drop in energy levels, there are more diverse textural elements employed - the group recorded the orchestral parts in Budapest, and used a church organ in their hometown of Montreal.

Régine Chassagne took a couple of lead vocals on Funeral, but here she only sings the lightweight first half of the multi-part "Black Wave / Bad Vibrations", almost another respite before Win Butler′s more dramatic lead vocal takes over.

As well as "Keep the Car Running" and "Intervention", other immediate songs include the propulsive "No Cars Go", and the climactic catharsis of closer "My Body Is A Cage".

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])

I downloaded Neon Bible soon after it came out, and one or two cursory listens gave me the impression that I liked it about as much as Funeral - you know, a decent 4 stars.

Then I went to Coachella, a little side benefit of moving to L.A. being that I’m a two-hour drive away, and living amongst copious numbers of like-minded music fans who would drop everything to go. And Arcade Fire happened to be playing there.

Regardless of my noncommittal feelings about the band, I'd heard they were pretty ridiculous live (my ex-roommate Li told me stories of seeing them in Seattle, where they’d like wear helmets and beat each other on the head with baseball bats and stuff), so I put aside my overwhelming desire to see Ghostface Killah and trekked over to the main stage to see them on the Saturday evening.

An hour later, I realized Arcade Fire had just presented one of the three best shows I saw that entire weekend (along with the equally surprising Bjork, and the token 'get in now while no one’s heard of them' Hot Chip), and that I needed to take another look at this album.

The reason the band were so fantastic, was their enthusiasm. I could tell there was no other place they’d rather be than on that stage on that night playing those songs - they loved what they were doing so much it was contagious, plus they ran around like half-insane people and smashed each other on the ass with drumsticks, switching instruments every song, and just came across as the nicest people. So - in a live setting - the band's positives (energy, emotion, arrangements) completely outweighed their negatives (Butler’s vocals, which were fine live, and the rudimentary guitar parts). It was great.

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by Reviewer: BRAD