Thursday, March 08, 2007

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible, Day 3

Arcade Fire
Neon Bible (Merge)
Grade: A

It's a great record. Every detail has been planned to perfection, but not at the cost of reality and rawness. On this record, Arcade Fire watch their footing without losing their ability to dance.

"Black Mirror," Neon Bible's opener, I think is the biggest grower on the record. I came to this record not sure what to think. I kind of turned the buzz machine off and didn't take in any Arcade Fire-related press for about a week before the record dropped. I didn't listen to Funeral. And when I heard "Black Mirror," I was really disappointed.

But, here I am, six listens later (Fun fact: I bought the album off iTunes before my 8 a.m. lecture so it would be all downloaded when I got back), and I like it. I think that's kind of the bottom line to this record. While there are the obvious stand-outs like "Intervention" and "Antichrist Television Blues," there's so much beauty and intricacy on this record that you can't actually take it all in right away.

For example, what won me over on "Black Mirror" was Win's phrasing of the "mine-muh-mine" at about 1:30. I mean, that's some serious David Byrne shit right there. Admittedly, Neon Bible doesn't have as many "Oh hell yes" moments as Funeral, but they are definitely there. The gritted teeth, hypertense ferocity of "Intervention" leaves me absolutely breathless. The resolution of the well part of "The Well and the Lighthouse" is one of the most satisfying moments on a record since "7/4 Shoreline" on Broken Social Scene's self-titled.

But this record isn't a record of "hell yes" moments. It’s a record that celebrates subtleties and nuances. If you're looking for another "Rebellion (Lies)," you won't find it. What you will find is a record with a capability for growth almost as great as the amount of details it contains.

(April Wright)

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