The Arcade Fire
/merge; 2004/

more info:

My slacker friend is a good friend, but sometimes i don't understand him. For instance i have told him to listen to the arcade fire's debut album because i thought it sounded great and all he could say was "well i see what they want to do but i think they're not succeeding in doing it" and then i sighed. It's ok, he's done the similar hing a thousand times before, in a couple of years he'll ask me to do an arcade fire mixtape just like he asked me to make him a Xiu Xiu mixtape, two years after having told me that they sounded a lot like mark hollis and that the music wasn't that interesting.

there's so little you can do. The Arcade Fire just released their debut album on Merge, they're from Montreal and they wear their hearts on their sleeves, always a nice thing to do. They sound like sadder and less cheesy Stars, their sound reminiscent of early Mercury Rev and Canadian contemporaries Broken Social Scene. The band has titled its debut album Funeral because they have buried a lot of family in the past year. I guess that it makes the whole thing more interesting: the album sounds true and deeply human, emotional without being corny or overdone. If you need a comparison i'd say this is touching and sincere like a good sparklehorse song (in spirit only). Nobody's even considering trying to fake anything. Actually, it's hard to consider Funeral as a debut album, since songwriting is brilliant and the band's sound has been cornered and mastered.

The album is tight and majestuous, shrouded in smart string arrangements. Win Butler and Régine Chassagne are the band's creative core yet there are quite a lot of musicians credited in the liner notes. As a consequence, a bit like Broken Social Scene or The Flaming Lips the band often sounds bombastic, powerful and melodically dense. The songs aren't really conventional, passing from one stage to another and never going backwards, always pushing towards the stars. My favourites are "Crown of Love," with its highly exhilarating ending and "In the Back Seat" in which Chassagne sings with a bravado reminiscent of the early, still lively Bjork. If you've spent the year wondering where did all the great albums go, run to your favourite record shop and get this impressive record.

-Barbara H

/sept 15th 2004/