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|1. Neighborhood 1 (Tunnels)|
|2. Neighborhood 2 (Laika)|
|3. Une annee sans lumiere|
|4. Neighborhood 3 (Power Cut)|
|5. Neighborhood 4 (Kettles)|
|6. Crown Of Love|
|7. Wake Up|
|9. Rebellion (Lies)|
|10. In The Backseat|
Arcade Fire's Win Butler grew up in the lone star state but eventually gravitated to Montreal and it's his canine yelp that colours the band's debut as much as the deaths of band members' relatives, who are the subject of a dedication in the sleeve notes.
Win and his awkward but confident vocals are reminiscent of Talking Heads' main man David Byrne and like Byrne he drags some remarkable imagery into his bands songs. On ''7 Kettles'' he switched from cliché to oddity in a single line and the effect is oddly moving, 'They say a watched pot never boils/ you can't raise a baby on motor oil'. Or the haunting but jagged ''Laika'' he intones along with wife and bandmate Regine Chassagne, 'Our older brother/ bit by a vampire/ For a year we caught his tears in a cup/ And now we're gonna make him drink it'. You don't doubt them for a second.
Part of what causes Arcade Fire fans to so worship the thoughtful septet is the instrumentation. British bands who lazily rent an orchestra in the hope of chart success would do well do give Funeral a listen or 20. Every xylophone, violin and accordion adds to the heady brew. Instant catharsis, it ain't. Here, like on so many life-changing albums, the rewards come with each new listen.
In the years since Funeral, Arcade Fire made Neon Bible, an equally astounding album. But where Funeral was personal, !Bible is political. And where !Bible wears its influences on its sleeve from Echo And The Bunnymen to Bruce Springsteen, their first effort was the sound of a band discovering their own greatness. Only Arcade Fire can make misery sound so good and only Arcade Fire distil life into a sound that is at once busy and simple, textured and pure. There seems little doubt that Funeral will live on in listeners' hearts. --Lou Thomas
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Since I have only possessed this album for 6 weeks I can only safely vouch for the first two. However I would be very surprised if this album does not pass the test of time and I fully expect to be playing this in (whatever format music is listened to then) 10 years time.
There have been a lot of bands in recent years that have been heralded as the next big thing. Bands such as the Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, and Snow Patrol have all released commendable albums in the past number of years but for me none of them is as exciting or as original as this opening salvo from this motley crew of French Canadians.
I first became aware of the Arcade Fire at the start of September when I was lucky enough to be persuaded into seeing them by a friend at the Electric Picnic festival. Up until then I had never heard of any of their music and so did not know what to expect as I went to the tent at the appointed time. Their following was apparent from the huge crowd that gathered even though it was not the main stage and it was still relatively early. What followed over the next 90 minutes was without doubt the best live performance from a band that I have ever been privileged to witness. They opened with the amazing "Wake Up" and it still makes the hairs stand up on my neck to remember the entire bend standing in a line on the stage absolutely screaming out the chorus to the crowd. I have never seen a band expend so much energy in a performance-every single member seemed to be possessed. It truly was amazing to witness.
Needless to say I was straight out to the shops to buy Funeral and I have not been disappointed. There are some incredible tracks on here.Read more ›