14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
A very fine album indeed..., 24 May 2005
Whilst indie bands ungroom their hair and straighten their slim ties, and the mainstream rock audience pre-orders Coldplay's upcoming third album, the real concern right now is: who will urgently deliver a set of songs infused with freshness and originality?
Win Butler, sporting waistcoat and a Huck Finn haircut, leads the charge like some barefoot magnifico. This is Arcade Fire's debut album. The strength of this album lies not only in its welcome mishmash of xylophone, violin, and guitars or the wonderful quirkiness that weaves its way through the 10 songs, but also its sheer consistency. This is a very good collection of songs.
If the Pulp-esque "Crown Of Love" and the opening track "Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)" do not quite hit the mark, the purpose-driven wailing of Win Butler soon wins us over on "Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)". The melancholy "Neighbourhood #4 (7 Kettles)" will touch hearts. Perhaps the signature tune for this odd sextet from Montreal is "Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)" - a frenetic outpouring of heartache/hope as much as energy. There is beauty and sadness in such frenzied chaos. Memories of Talking Heads will also come to the fore.
"Une Annee Sans Lumiere" (A Year of Darkness) highlights the background to the recording of this album: the deaths of several friends and family members - hence, also, the title of the album "Funeral".
The album finishes strongly with a near-perfect final quartet of songs. The anthemic "Wake Up" reminds us: "Somethin' filled up my heart with nothin'. Someone told me not to cry. But now that I'm older my heart's colder, and I can see that it's a lie." Regine Chassagne sings lead vocal on the harrowingly beautiful "In The Backseat". She also sings on the standout track of the album, "Haiti".
"Funeral" is a very fine album indeed.