On Disc: Arcade Fire

Album: Neon Bible

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Neon Bible by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire
Neon Bible
Merge Records

4 stars

One of 2007’s most hyped releases, Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible has lots to offer. Politics, war, desperation and underlying paranoia mesh beautifully with Win Butler’s unhinged, overwhelmingly passionate vocals.

With its acoustic laments about the state of America in “Windowsill” and its intense segmented epics in tracks like “Black Wave/ Bad Vibrations,” Neon Bible captures Arcade Fire’s ferocious energy.

Opener “Black Mirror” doesn’t do the rest of the album justice. A reworked version of “No Cars Go” and U.K. single “Keep the Car Running” counter the underwhelming effect of “Black Mirror.”

The release’s powerful centerpiece is “(Antichrist Television Blues),” an epic song which gathers momentum and force as it plays out. Reminiscent of early Bruce Springsteen, the song epitomizes the band’s passionate desperation. Meticulously crafted but played to its breaking point, “(Antichrist Television Blues)” combines lyrical ferocity and musical energy.

The band makes room for love on the initially disorienting closing track, “My Body Is a Cage.” A trembling voice, organ and funeral drumbeat close this epic album, a dreary reminder of Arcade Fire’s discontent with today’s world. As Butler puts it on “Windowsill,” “I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more.”

For any other band, Neon Bible might be considered a perfect album. However, with the formidable ghost of 2004’s Funeral looming over Arcade Fire’s shoulder, Neon Bible only silences cynics and bolsters the band’s growing fanbase. It looks like there will be a new nation of bible thumpers in 2007.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette