Thursday, March 29, 2007

In An Ocean Of Noise. I First Heard Your Voice. Ringing Like A Bell. As If I Had A Choice (Oh Well).

I like to consider myself a fairly astute music fan, y'know? And I say that without a trace of ego. I don't expect bands that I enjoy listening to to rehash their sound album after album without taking some sort of chance with their sound. I expect to be challenged at some level, and after previewing several tracks from Arcade Fire's sophmore album Neon Bible last year, I felt exactly the opposite. I wasn't moved. I wasn't grabbed by the collar and dragged to their point. And it was a little depressing. After all, when one releases a debut as stellar as Funeral where else do you have to fall but down? But I soon realized where my error lay. I had only gleaned a small piece of the puzzle. NB is NOT a singles album; it's meant to be experienced as a whole where each track expertly segues into the next. No, it's not Funeral and no it's not better than it's predecessor. But why would you want it to be? If that album was about death and it's aftermath, then Neon Bible is about dying. A glorious mess of an album that actually convinces the listener they're unravelling along with the band, only to be resurrected by the time the final notes play out. This is Arcade Fire at their most daring, taking a chance with their signature sound and succeeding on their own terms. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Arcade Fire: Ocean Of Noise

Arcade Fire: Keep The Car Running

Arcade Fire: Black Mirror

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible