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4.4 out of 5 stars223
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 November 2013
Arcade Fire? Just a band...and a hugely over hyped one at that which might go some way to explaining why this 'abstract' and 'difficult' 4th album has divided hard core fans and rock dullard music journalists.

My own personal hero worship of Arcade was a brief two year fling between 2005 and 2007 that ended once I had overplayed the rather brilliant 'Neon Bible' with its gorgeous deluxe CD boxset. By the time that 'The Suburbs' came along, I had totally lost interest, skipped that particularly album despite all the praise and nonsense written about it until a week or so again when 'Reflecktor' blasted out of the radio and lifted a sterile playlist full of Top 40 twerking junk.
Was this really Arcade Fire with a pulsating Giorgio Moroder bassline, deliciously offbeat vocal interplay within a indie disco stomper that was subversively altering the airwaves of Planet Pop? The title track was worthy of further investigation and after one play of both volumes, I was hooked once again by this curious Canadian band and giving the entire album another listen, followed by another listen.

The first thing that struck me about this album as a whole was its wonderful diversity - each track is so different and so brilliantly bonkers how they all build then wrong foot the listener with a nifty chord change or a curve ball in the form of a frantic finish within a clash of ideas. It is this unique brilliance across both volumes that inspires wonder with each play. LCD's James Murphy certainly adds something new and exciting to Arcade's already rich pallet of sounds but his input has been massively overstated by those who have rubbished the album.

'Reflektor' isn't the full-on electronic album that critics claim, nor is it a traditional Arcade Fire album but it is something that will reward patient listeners with a love for vinyl and soundscapes and 'Reflektor' has plenty of that. There's enough 'classic' Arcade to please long term fans on Volume 1 with tracks that flirt with everything including reggae and 'rock' as well as influences that evoke fond memories of Bowie's finest album 'Low' merged with early Talking Heads & Eno. Then there's Arcade's trademark life affirming choruses all sung and performed as though the band are close to breakdown - edgy yet violently happy.

For me, the best is all left for volume 2 that contains my current choice track 'Porno' with its minimalist new wave synths, stripped bare and free of bombastic production that enables the track to take on a hypnotic, twisted journey. Someone really needs to lock Arcade in a studio awash with classic Moogs and other collectable analogue keyboards because 'Porno' could well be a future blueprint for a band keen to embrace new sonic adventures.

Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give to 'Reflektor' is that with each listen, my fave track changes. One night its 'Porno', the next its 'Afterlife' (a track that will be *everywhere* soon trust me) and at the time of writing these words, 'It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)' has crept into the scheme of things.

Some people think 'Reflektor' is 'too long'? Nonsense I say. It's not long enough.

I want volumes 5 & 6 and I want them now.

The 180g double vinyl is quite steep with a retail price of over 20 pounds but the sturdy cover and inner sleeves are printed on lush light reflective card. This provides a brilliant effect on the inlay of volume 2 which is covered with stylishly spooky phototgraphy from Depeche Mode's visual director Anton Corbijn. Grab this vinyl deluxe edition whilst you can before future pressings revert back to cheaper packaging.
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on 6 January 2016
I had avoided Arcade Fire for years because I didn't really understand their music. I'm not sure I do still, but I don't mean that in a bad way - since I bought Reflektor, I've been back and bought all their other stuff and watched countless concerts of theirs on Youtube. God I love them as a band and I'm kicking myself I didn't get into them earlier and I'm still noticing oodles of stuff I love about their music. I had always liked 'The Suburbs' song, but Reflektor had not figured on my radar till Youtube popped it up in a suggested selection a few weeks ago and the black and white picture of an industrial scene with metallic shutter, warehouses, and military truck meant I just had to play that video. And wow, is it good. That was it - I had to have the album and I immediately hit a problem because I didn't like two of the tracks - Here Comes The Night; and Flashbulb eyes. But this completely changed round because of some live performances I watched where I found that the glamorously sexy Regine Chassagne played the steel drums; and the saxophone parts are like bits of silken music enriching the rest of the song. And I love how Here Comes The Night starts fast, slows down, starts fast and slows down again. Reflektor does this a bit too, and Flashbulb Eyes has so much Reggae in it, it's brilliant and just a funny lighthearted song. All my kids love the album, my friends too. Oh - for the live performances, one of the best on YouTube is Arcade Fire at the Northside Festival in 2014 - a full unmixed version. If you're wavering over the album watch that and find your fingers automatically pressing the buy button! A very addictive album. I love them.
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on 28 October 2013
Reflektor is the fourth studio album by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire.

It was tricky enough following up the seminal debut Funeral; this remains their best work to date. However Neon Bible and The Suburbs were still sublime.

The new album is another turn in a different direction. Notably co-produced by James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Reflektor takes on a funky electronic façade. Epicly spread over two CDs there is an hour and a half of new material for devoted fans to get their teeth into which is instantly quite demanding. Much like their previous works, the album improves with additional listens. But the ingenuity in some of the tracks is weighed down by their excessive length, a stark contrast to the precision of tracks such as 'Laika' from Funeral (3 minutes and a half) - compare this to some of the tracks on this album that clock in at 6 or 7 minutes and you begin to wonder whether the band could have been a little more cunning.

It's a fresh and ambitious record that requires time and patience but is perhaps a little too grandiose and less refined than their older work.

Listen to: Reflektor, Flashbulb Eyes, Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)
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on 30 October 2015
I've tried listening to AF discs, before, but the music didn't click with me. I have no idea why. After recently hearing these albums, I now can't get enough of them. Great stuff, give 'em a try. And if you've dismissed them before, try again. This is a unique, compelling group from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
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on 11 February 2015
I came to this album late having been a bit disappointed by 'The Suburbs',and thinking maybe the band had burned themselves out with their earlier brilliance. What a joy then to find that they return here to their brilliant best - indeed,in terms of consistency on any of their albums,maybe this IS their best to date. 'Reflektor' includes a number of energetic,anthemic tracks that will instantly join fans' lists of live favourites,but there is also here plenty of invention and originality and that particularly Canadian brand of kookiness that Arcade Fire so excel at. A dazzling joy of an album,to be listened to LOUD (and on a good quality sound system!)
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on 26 December 2014
When I first heard this album I didn't think it was as strong as their early albums such as Neon Bible but after repeated listenings the album has really grown on me and become one of my favourite albums. Disc 1 has a number of excellent tracks on it and is the stronger of the two discs. This album could probably have been slimmed down to an excellent single album - as it is there are a few filler tracks on the album.

Overall though I still rate this album and would definitely recommend it.
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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.

Excellent.
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on 6 October 2014
Some excellent songs on this album, but also a fair amount of what sounds a lot like lift music! Also why is the album split between 2 CDs? I bought it to play in the car and it is irritating to have to switch CDs midway through. Personally I'd recommend buying this album as a digital download, and not bothering with Here Comes The Night Time II and Supersymmetry.
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on 7 June 2015
This band goes from strength to strength, and the fear that the next album won't live up to its predecessors is never realised. The Arcade Fire sound is unmistakable and there's even more to it with Reflektor - it's powerful stuff. Crisp, confident sound. Original songs that get your attention and demand they're played again and again...even louder each time.
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on 13 January 2015
Great album. What can I say? I love it! Arcade Fire true to style, they are an exceptional and innovative band - unique! Have dug out a few of the old albums Neon Bible, Funeral to revisit. Can't understand why people are slating Reflektor or Arcade Fire themselves but everyone entitled to their own opinion. Even my kids think they're cool, no 1D for them!!
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