Sunday, August 22, 2010

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

It's going to stink waiting for new Arcade Fire material now. I burned through their three albums in less than a year, and now it's going to be a while until the next one. Oh well, guess I'll have to find another indie band to obsess over for a while.

If I had to rank them, I'd put The Suburbs behind Funeral and ahead of Neon Bible, although the important thing is that they haven't messed up yet, and their sound continues to grow and evolve as they figure out what kind of band they are. Bible had much more obvious musical influences than Funeral, while in The Suburbs you can still feel the effect of previous work on the songs, it's much less blatant and gives it a more timeless quality. It's sort of a compromise between their first two albums in a way, a bit more mature than Funeral but more down to earth and apolitical than Neon Bible. I'm very excited to see where they continue to go from here.

"The Suburbs" and "Ready to Start" are a perfect one-two punch to begin the proceedings, full of energy and the band's unique flair. "Modern Man" is a more mellow track, but it keeps it interesting enough. "Rococo" didn't amaze me at first beyond a couple elements, but it's actually turned out to be perhaps the most insidious earworm on the album. "Empty Room" is the first song on the album sung primarily by Regine, and a catchy one. I like Win just fine obviously, but I think they both have a lot to bring to the table, and it was a bit disappointing when she only really sang half of one song on Neon Bible. She shows up more here, and it's fun.

"Half Light", the first of two two-parters, is a pretty nice pair of songs, and they're followed by "Suburban War", a pleasant track in its own right that transforms itself with a minute and a half to go in a pretty awesome way. If the album has a weakness, it's the four tracks after that before the intoxicating "Sprawl" I and II. They're nice songs, doing their own unique thing on the album, it's just that they kind of make the whole thing seem a bit overstuffed, and if there were just two of them there instead of all four I think it would flow better. But anyway, "Sprawl" is awesome and the final track brings everything full circle. It's a great album that might have been better with a bit of trimming, but I can't really complain about having more Arcade Fire songs, can I?

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