October 25, 2008

Neon Interventionist Windowsills

Making their follow up an even better album than the debut CD that was one of 2004’s greatest albums was one heavy task for The Arcade Fire. All I can say from listening to Neon Bible over and over and over again is; they have done it. They moved past the childhood anthems of Funeral and created an accessible, broad album that is just as good, if not better than their 2004 hit. The combination of a powerful organ, violins, keyboard, guitar, horns, and masterful percussion creates complex, multifaceted music that is purely orgasmic. After a strong and heavy drum and guitar set on Black Mirror the album moves onto its first instant hit, “Keep The Car Running”. The mood is vibrant and happy and one can virtually feel the energy that The Arcade Fire puts into every second of this song. Neon Bible seems like the Grandchild of Intervention when one looks at every part of Intervention. It is easily one of the most accessible songs on the album and one of the best. It starts off with the brilliant sounds of an organ. The reason I love this song isn’t because of the profound lyrics or the use of every resource of Arcade Fire but rather because of the progression of this song. It moves from a lone organ to a full ensemble and how the acoustic guitar is still able to stay a prominent over the wonderful strings and continual organ. We are only 4 songs in and Arcade Fire has already shown that their 2nd album is nowhere close to failing the hype that followed its creation. Now I can keep rambling on about every song and how each one is a masterful sign of the band’s creativity but I’d like to do something different. Well first let me say what a cracker jack of a song No Cars Go is. One listen is all that is needed for it to hook you. Let’s look at how much Arcade Fire has changed from Funeral. On the CD Funeral, The Arcade Fire looked inside themselves and sang and played about childhood, inner happiness, and deep loss. On Neon Bible they branch out and go beyond themselves to create an album that tackles issues beyond themselves like military, entertainment, and the church. Now they never say “Fuck the Man!” or anything like that in the album but one could argue that they say the equivalent through creativity and fantastically layered songs. The whole album sends a message on a worldly scope that sends shivers down anyone’s back. The way this whole album works so brilliantly is due to the progression and track list of the album. The Arcade Fire builds up, fall down, build even higher, then slowly let you down with the song “My Body Is A Cage”. Now that I have gone through all the things that I completely love about the album, I will touch on a few minor parts that brought the album down from its full potential. First of all while songs are nice to listen to, “The Well And The Lighthouse” and some other parts of songs seem to be directly taken from either folk stories or other sources of ancient origin. While this can show how the group is branching out even further, it really detracts from personal feeling and how they are trying to put across a message. Which brings me to my next point: the songs by themselves. While I could listen to Intervention, No Cars Go, or Windowsill for hours on ends just on repeat, every single other song seems to be greater with the support of other songs to fully push the message. While I applaud albums GREATLY for putting out a fantastic message (cough cough OK Computer) when songs can’t stand by themselves as well without the next song to finish the point. These are only small cons to an amazing album. An album can never be completely compromised by a mere song order (even though No Cars Go should have been the obvious closer for this album). In conclusion, this album is stellar. Purely amazing with energy erupting from every pore. If you do not have this CD you need to get it right now. Whether you are an indie fan or not this group of 7+ people will have you getting up and jumping around to your favorite song and you will get chills down your back every time you listen to Windowsill. Every song will bring on a new feeling of awesome. And if you EVER have the chance to see them live, DO IT. Take it from me that it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. 

9.4 – Pure Bliss 

By Andy Holden

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