With a wide range of influences from dance to Bowie to Talking Heads; Montreal-based Arcade Fire are back with fourth release ‘Reflektor’ which chooses to do things a little differently.
News of the album ensued when a street art campaign of Haitian voodoo symbols begun appearing throughout locations worldwide. The lengthy yet brilliant marketing campaign continued with a series of secret live shows, played under the name of The Reflektors, to an audience of fancy dress fanatics.
Music icon, David Bowie aided after the title-track was leaked a day before its release. Appearing on backing vocals for the track, Bowie dropped into Electric Lady Studios in New York to record his contribution. His distinct vocals set tongues wagging instantaneously, and more attention than ever was focused on Arcade Fire.
When asked by TV host Stephen Colbert how the band would prefer listeners to respond to the album, frontman Win Butler joked “I guess ideally you’d be shaking the ass with a little tear in the eye.” Whilst it doesn’t quite have that effect, lead single ‘Reflektor’ contains a dreamy vocal and retro disco beats that will certainly get you grooving – just without the waterworks. Butler also mentioned the album was inspired by a trip to Haiti, evident on tracks such as ‘Flashbulb Eyes’, thick with percussion and tropical island-esque connotations.
‘Normal Person’ with woozy but assured guitar lines sees Arcade Fire reach a landmark moment; they can now stake a genuine claim in being the finest experimental band around. Everything tessellates on ‘You Already Know’ which also works to offer an insight into the band’s broader musical palette.
The 75-minute epic is a series of peaks, all battling to crown themselves as your favourite, but ‘We Exist’ has an edge which allows it to outdo its rivals. A soaring gem that has been pushed as far as it can go; Arcade Fire blend slick and funky instrumentation with melodic brilliance with hooks that linger upon the ears. The only negative is that the sub-six minute track could be dramatically improved by placing a never-ending loop on it.
Proceedings take a far-out turn on ‘Porno’ with an illuminated beat that develops as the tune wears on. On the other hand, the ironically labelled ‘Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)’ misleads – there’s nothing awful about it! Every second of the track caresses your ears, seductively conveying excellence.
From the opening bars of ‘Reflektor’, it’s clear that this isn’t just any record. Before you know where you are, you’ll find yourself donning your best fancy dress and getting yourself down to a ‘secret’ Reflektors gig. You know it’s too good to be true. Arcade Fire have created an unrivaled sound that keeps on giving long after the final track fades out, and for that we should all be grateful. 9/10
Words by Lauren Wade.