Arcade Fire have been a band I have been following since the seminal Funeral album was released way back in, was it 2005?
Each album subsequent to that, Neon Bible and latterly, The Suburbs, have seen them confound expectations. But, whilst they have done a Radiohead and aimed for ever more obscure sounds inspired by seemingly endless rounds of navel gazing and struggling with the awkwardness they clearly show at their world domination, their sound has never suffered or become boring.
So it is, with the fourth album, we are treated to yet another string to their bow. Proceedings are pretty much in the vein of lead single Reflektor, if you have heard this the you know the type of sound, low key drums, whispered vocals that are oft snarled into the mic, all told a fairly disconcerting mix which is very intoxicating and draws you in on repeated listening. Some of the rougher and more ill-defined noises reminds me of 'On Avery Island' era Neutral Milk Hotel, a very analog-ish, lo-fi and rough sound that is very intriguing.
Although this is a double album it could have comfortably fit on one disc rather than two, but hey, it doesn't matter. The album packaging is well thought out, each disc has a fold out booklet that contains lyrics and grainy, colour photos that are abstract, voodoo-esque and unsettling. A very good accompaniment to the sounds.
I have been drawn in and seduced by this album, although not an immediate hit with killer hooks it pulls you into its world upon repeated listening and is genuinely brilliant.
For the Arcade Fire fan this is essential.