Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

Arcade Fire’s recently released Neon Bible has been highly anticipated after the great success of their 2004 CD entitled Funeral.   Does the new CD live up to the expectations?  For me, no, but I expect that Arcade Firewill not be true for many who, like me, enjoyed Funeral.  Arcade Fire are to be congratulated for refusing to rest on their earlier success and rushing out a quick money maker.  The group has high ambitions and the success of Funeral has buttressed those ambitions with a budget.  It sounds like they put every penny of it into the recording.  Their music is filled with orchestral sweeps and crescendoes and on Neon Bible it sometimes sounds like they have half the population of their native Montreal singing and playing along.  They aim for a big sound and they get it. 

Neon Bible is shaping up as one of those CDs that I enjoy more when I hear a track in a mix than when I listen to the entire album.  The Arcade Fire shy away from typical verse-chorus song structure in favor of riff and chant based compositions that build to anthemic climaxes.  Sometimes they start from anthemic climaxes and go from there.  Their songwriter also tends to be melodically weak with the result that their vocals have a sing-song repititious quality somewhat like jump-rope chants or amateur readings on poetry night at the local coffeehouse.  For me, this gets old really fast.  The sing-song vocals and constant striving for anthemic grandeur give you the impression that Neon Bible is a CD that has 11 tracks, a big budget, and about 2 musical ideas that get repeated until every track sounds more or less like the one before.  Funeral was a sleeper for me; on first listen it didn’t have much effect but several listens later I caught on and came to really enjoy it.  Based on that experience I’ve played Neon Bible quite a bit.  Hasn’t caught fire yet.  This is not a bad album by any means, there are some really nice things here and it’s apparent that a good deal of care and effort went into building these tracks.  A few more musical ideas would have been nice.

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03/25/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music

5 Comments »

  1. that is total crap

    Comment by charlie | 04/16/2008 | Reply

  2. […] We Are Wolves, Total Magique We Are Wolves come out of Montreal along with Arcade Fire, The Dears, Wolf Parade, and Malajube among others.  Although they share part of their name with […]

    Pingback by Review: We Are Wolves, Total Magique « Tuned In To Music | 06/30/2008 | Reply

  3. […] is an indie rock outfit from Montreal and they are flat out, hands down terrific.  What with Arcade Fire, The Dears, Wolf Parade and Sainte Catherine, Montreal has been getting a lot of favorable indie […]

    Pingback by Review: Malajube, Trompe-L’Oeil « Tuned In To Music | 08/02/2008 | Reply

  4. […] hard to categorize.  They hail from Montreal and, like many of the bands from that city such as Arcade Fire and Malajube, they ignore musical genre in favor of playing whatever type of music suits the needs […]

    Pingback by Review: Plants and Animals, Parc Avenue « Tuned In To Music | 08/02/2008 | Reply

  5. […] 2010.  They have received a good deal of positive press and their Wikipedia entry compares them to Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend and quotes Pitchfork calling them “a sort of west coast […]

    Pingback by Review: Local Natives, Gorilla Manor « Tuned In To Music | 06/09/2010 | Reply


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