Arcade Fire: Reflektor

Posted November 8, 2013 by in Alternative



4/ 5


Genre: , ,
Producer: , ,
Genre: Indie pop, alternative, indie rock
Producer: James Murphy, Markus Dravs, Arcade Fire
Label: Merge
Format: Digital download, compact disc, vinyl
Time: 75:14
Release Date: 28 October 2013
Spin This: "Reflektor," "We Exist," "Here Comes the Night Time," "It's Never Over"


More upbeat, a bit riskier and still holding tight to Arcade Fire's persona - steps in the right direction. Treats on first disc stands taller than the album's second offering


The unnecessary double-LP idea shows off the band's appetite to feed self-indulgence

Disco here, rock ‘n roll there; Arcade Fire jumps out the box for a faster uptempo, riskier record

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Disco here, rock ‘n roll there; Arcade Fire jumps out the box for a faster uptempo, riskier record

After dropping their critically-acclaimed third album The Suburbs, Arcade Fire quickly blasted into the public concourse in ways they’ve never imagined. They were the posterchildren at the 2011 Grammys, taking home the big win for Album of the Year. In an ironic twist of musical fate, they rocked the stage of the last show for LCD Soundsystem. And it may be from that bit of twisted association that the Canadian indie band might have wondered if their familiar nostalgic formula – entranced with a baroque pop sound and dreamy Americana drips – would have crisscrossed with a disco beat. At first listen, the James Murphy-produced title cut on their follow-up LP sounds like it’s been sewn together using Murphy’s dancefloor blueprint. But there’s more to the event than meets the eye: Win Butler’s stabs at David Bowie mechanics (The Thin White Duke even makes a brief appearance) are properly placed, “Heart of Glass” echoes are transparent and Régine Chassagne’s coy vocals creates the perfect escape into a Donna Summer loveland. But premature criticism went into full effect to improperly define Reflektor as Arcade Fire’s disco album. Awful assessment, especially since it’s not really a disco album.

What Reflektor should be categorically defined as is that it’s a bit more upbeat and a lot more risky than first imagined. “We Exist,” the album’s next triumphant moment, flashes with Arcade Fire’s usual quirks, turning up the volume on the guitars on ‘80’s rock gold. The sweet combinations of this rock-soul and the apparent disco-friendly tempo (also evident on “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)”) are still a bit new to their fanbase, but never eats away at the indie pop magic that they’re most recognized for. And before it fires up a Vampire Weekend-like prelude, “Here Comes the Night Time” plays with upright piano plunks on a faux-reggae groove using Paul McCartney pop as its choice of bait.

The risks Arcade Fire do take are mostly entrenched in the scheme of things, such as dividing twelve tracks into two discs, turning a seventy minute journey into a two-disc affair. It’s a bit heavy with ego – almost Beyonce-ish, especially since all of it could have fit tightly unto one disc. There’s also some tracks that feel like studio experiments meant to stump the brain: psychedelic glares are strongly evidenced on “Flashbulb Eyes;” “Porno” parades around a carousel of circus synths and funky lyrics (“Little boys with their porno/This is their world, where can we go?”); five minutes of Peter Gabriel-ish aural therapy decorate the first half of “Supersymmetry” before turning into a tepid clusterfuck of noise art.

Reflektor isn’t and shouldn’t be compared with The Suburbs, but many critics who are simply bored with playing it safe will toss the two albums into a battlebot ring and see who comes out alive. In that event, the elder album will win. But Reflektor is sweetly embellished with new tricks and a jolt of youthfulness, despite playing occasionally with retro rock ‘n roll (“You Already Know”) and four-on-the-floor drums. They haven’t lost a sense of self. Instead they have dipped their style in a pool of fun. What ultimately comes out is a dripping wet album spiked with self-indulgence, something cool for future concert openers and an extra dose of rhythm.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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