The Record Lounge: Review – Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Due to traffic issues, I was almost an hour late for my date. Why we had scheduled for a Friday night date in Fort Worth (where she lived) and I would come from Dallas (where I lived) is beyond me. I had only 10 minutes to get there to be on time and was still stuck in downtown Dallas. I had to make that dreadful call you don’t want to make, especially on a first date. I will be late. Since I was running so far behind beyond my control, all of our plans were thrown out the window. The movie I had wanted to go to at the museum was about to start, and had no backup or dinner plans set in stone. This would be a disaster, and it sort of was. In the end, we made it to dinner (Szechuan), and made a late showing of “Reno 911: Miami at the Movie Tavern”. And in the midst of it all, I was still able to get to the store to pick up Neon Bible, the new album by Arcade Fire.

Returning to recorded form, Arcade Fire’s new album hit shelves this past week. And as a fan, it is so worth the wait. Montreal’s unapologetic anthemic indie rock seven piece offers up their third full-length album, the ambitious 16 song The Suburbs and play a pair of shows in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Not bad for a band on North Carolina’s independent label of choice, Merge Records.

Is it worth the over 3 year wait? Absolutely.

This is the reason albums are made. This is a journey, not necessarily like a concept album, but from beginning to end The Suburbs is a piece of work in its whole form. Yes, songs are enjoyable in a single format, but the payoff is in the sequencing and pacing of this record. The ramp up from the loose feel  of the opening title track “Suburbs”, to the post-punk keyboards accenting “Ready To Start”, into the moderate “Modern Man”, the calming repetition of “Rococo”‘s chorus and finally into the Arcade Fire signature bombast release of “Empty Room” proves how an album should be constructed. It is almost perfect in its execution.

This is followed by the excellent “City With No Children” and several other standout tracks, (“Month Of May”) all paced and sequenced to give the 16 song trek a sense of purpose, with trademark Arcade Fire traits as multiple part songs and plenty of parenthesis’ (“Half Light I” & “Half Light II (No Celebration)”), (“Sprawl I (Flatland)” & “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”) and even a reprise of the title track to wrap everything up.

Aside from the delicate feel of chamber music throughout their music, U2 and Springsteen sized stadium anthems, and general indie rock, we also find The Suburbs expanding into a little Krautrock as well as light post-punk. Arcade Fire sound only like Arcade Fire. And trying to duplicate or even imitate this sound is not suggested to anyone. This is just one of those few special bands we get to watch, enjoy, and hopefully follow for many, many years to come.

And as for that date, well it went better than I thought. After torturing her with Dimmu Borgir (as a joke) we listened to Neon Bible for the remainder of the evening and she enjoyed it. Not enough to skip Muse for at ACL that year, but she enjoyed it.

And she’s still here with me to see another Arcade Fire record. Thanks Arcade Fire!

~ by thesynaptic on August 9, 2010.

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