Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
The Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible is not entirely different than Funeral - contrary to what most reviewers would have you believe. Sure, it isn't exactly the same, but it's not jazz either.
As someone who enjoyed Funeral, but didn't think it was the be all end all 2004-2005, I find the latest release to sound a bit more mature, and thought through.
The Arcade Fire always struck me as the drama club putting together a band. This is not terrible, and I don't want to come across as cutting down on the drama clubs around the country. But, everything is just a little too staged with lots of mimicry. Like when the sound like The Pixies, you'd have a hard time telling that it wasn't actually The Pixies. The singer screams. The singer croons, and he does it as well as anyone out there - except for Frank Black. The funny thing is, I find the Arcade Fire's music much more honest when the female vocalist takes over - even if she does do a hell of a Bjork impression.
The new album follows the same pattern. A lot of mimicry, fused with a lot of honest Arcade Fire moments.
For example, if you are someone who wonders what Bruce Springsteen would sound like if he broke through in 2007, this is the album for you. Yes, not only The Pixies and Bjork, but it sounds like Springsteen too. Again, the music is good, the songs are good, but c'mon!
Thankfully, the whole album isn't Bruce, or The Pixies or Bjork, but there's enough there that you might find yourself reaching for your Nebraska album before the end. The rest of the album is very good - a bit darker than Funeral, which I enjoy - but nothing that is unique or new. Nothing comes across as totally emotionally honest.
Now, for all of my judgments above, I have to admit that I enjoy this album - a lot. It's the love child of the aforementioned Springsteen - at times it even had me thinking Jesus Mary and Chain and Sisters of Mercy (see: "Black Mirror / Black Planet").
Standout tracks include:
- Keep the Car Running (Could be a cover from Born in the USA)
- Intervention (If you loved Funeral, this is your track)
- No Cars Go (Probably the best track on the album)
Arcade Fire isn't a tribute band, but they aren't far from being one. They do an amazing job playing other people's music - a good enough job that I would recommend their records - but unless something changes with future releases, they aren't likely to be relevant in the future, but instead just a clone of what once was good.