Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

So Arcade Fire's second album turned out to not be as good as their first, but that's okay because few things are. It's not revolutionary, but it's a solid, very listenable album. It's also a bit unexpected in some of its sounds. I really wasn't expecting the most obvious influence on this band from Canada to be Bruce Springsteen. They make all the songs their own, but there's no doubt they were inspired by various American acts that were prone to political messages, as they're no strangers to that here. Perhaps the biggest fault with the album is that it can't quite keep up its energy from the first half to the second. There's still good songs to be found there, it's just not as endlessly listenable as the beginning of this or the entirety of Funeral. I wouldn't really call it a disappointment, because I do think it's pretty darn good. It would just be nice if The Suburbs, which comes out this August, is a little more consistent. At least Neon Bible's jacket is a flip book.

In case you were wondering, the Springsteen influence is definitely felt in "Keep the Car Running", and especially "(Antichrist Television Blues)", which might as well have been written by him. They're both pretty enjoyable songs though. "Intervention" was the lead single, and has a nice energy to it, plus some of the better interplay between Win and Regine. She only gets one lead part this time, and it's only part of a medley called "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations". But that's a good song so it's okay. The opener "Black Mirror" has an odd feel to it, but I think it's a good way to get set for the rest of what's coming. "Ocean of Noise" and "Windowsill" are two of the weaker tracks, although they both have a couple things going for them. "No Cars Go" is a recreation of a song from their first EP, and a pretty damn catchy tune. "My Body Is a Cage" ends things, and while it's not perfect, I like what it does. They were definitely trying to do something different with this album, and I respect that even if it didn't come out as great as their last effort. They're certainly one of the more likable bands playing right now.

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