By Rob Duguay
Montreal baroque pop act Arcade Fire are truly something special in the sense that they became an overnight sensation with their last album The Suburbs shocking the world by winning Album Of The Year at The 2011 Grammy Awards. Ever since that occurred with the mainstream taking a huge slap in the face, Arcade Fire have risen to become one of the premier acts in independent music and in turn achieving a gigantic following worldwide. Selling out shows everywhere they go, performing at some of the biggest festivals on the planet all while sticking to their guns and doing what they do best, it’s a testament of hard work and sheer brilliance that this sextet have gotten this far. With that being said, Arcade Fire currently have their 4th studio album Reflektor out and I have fallen completely in love with it. There’s this Roxy Music-esque art rock style surrounding the album that’s going to make you dance. It’s nice to hear them turning the amps up and getting loud, a direction that you have to dig while getting along to the groove.
What makes Reflektor very unique is that there’s a distinct Haitian influence you might not notice at first, but let me explain. While taking a break from everything before heading into the studio to work on the album, vocalist and guitarist Win Butler and his wife multi-instrumentalist Regine Chassagne traveled to Haiti where Regine has familial roots. While there and encountering the culture of the island that is still in recovery from the massive earthquake it suffered from back in 2010, the music they heard made them want to introduce it into the band’s sound. There's not a direct Caribbean effect but the rhythmic structures are very comparable, that’s what makes Reflektor’s jumping beats and soulful harmonies so infectious.
So Halloween is over. Say goodbye to the candy and costumes and get ready to stuff your face full of succulent roast turkey with all the fix-ins. November is here and the holiday season is nearly in full swing. You’ll probably get sick of holidays by the time you have your first glass of brandy & egg nog, but I know you can’t get sick of the top tracks off of my Album Of The Week. It won’t get you drunk but it’s just as tasty in a different way, it’ll just make you want to listen to the album even more. Anyways and as always, here goes something:
There’s something incredibly sexy about “Normal Person”- I can’t put my finger on it just yet but I can guarantee that you won’t be acting normal once you press play. Images of bright lights on the dance floor will resonate in your mind on the nu-disco number “We Exist”, Bryan Ferry would appreciate the retro appeal so much that he might put an old pair of bellbottoms on just for the hell of it. Dirty riffs and distorted waves of ambient tones are abundant in “Flashbulb Eyes”, the bass line is the backbone for the whole track by keeping everything at a steadily smooth pace. For the people who like to spend their day walking down the streets of their local metropolis with earbuds blaring, “You Already Know” will give you a little hop in your step and a skip in your jump. You know what the deal is by now, but if you don’t I’m gonna tell you anyways. Each track off of Reflektor is beautiful in it's own way so don’t take my word on just a few.
Currently Arcade Fire will be embarking on a tour of Europe next week starting off with a two night stay at The Roundhouse in London on November 11th & 12th. Unfortunately when they come back stateside they won’t be performing in the New England area but let’s hope they will sometime soon. Until Arcade Fire sets off a storm at your friendly neighborhood music venue, get their new album Reflektor. It’s music that will surely light up your senses and start a fire in your heart.