Arcade Fire – Reflektor (2013)

Share this:

Montreal’s Arcade Fire tables their most ambitious record yet with Reflektor, a sprawling two-disc outing that pushes through an oft-irreverent 75 or so minutes with transcendent confidence.

The band has grown into their fame and seems a long way removed from the Funeral of nearly a decade ago. Themes of seclusion and loss still remain, but Arcade Fire’s resolve has carved out a path that is at times quite a lot of fun. Throwing LCD Soundsystem’s former frontman James Murphy in as co-producer is another revelation, one that permeates every ramped-up beat and electronic soundscape.

Reflektor is a collage of a number of musical textures, from the electronic magic of Murphy’s wheelhouse to rara music from Haiti. The percussion hammers harder than it ever has and the overall sound of the endeavor, recorded in large part in a castle in Jamaica for Christ’s sake, has the mammoth quality a Big Fucking Album requires.

Arcade Fire’s hunger hasn’t gone anywhere, happily, and the indie indulgence is painted all over the 2013 outing in a way that reveals a sense of humor.

Consider the cheeky ode to rock-and-roll found on “Normal Person,” for instance. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Win Butler sighs, then asks “Dooo youuuu like rock and roll music? ‘Cuz I don’t know if I do.” The cut veers into a riff-kissed dynamo of glam-rock, while Butler struts around like Jagger. “If that’s what’s normal now, I don’t wanna go,” he sings.

Are the Arcade Fire fed up with rock and roll in the age of the “selfie”? That hardly seems fair, but there is strong cynicism coating these songs. The record at once looks back and springs ahead, through the chilly balance of the title track — with Régine Chassagne’s vocals sounding like an advanced human — to the glaring coda of “We Exist” that nods to Achtung Baby with clear bug-eyes.

There’s also “Joan of Arc,” a track that wisely begins with a spitting blast of punk rock before settling into an evil groove. It’s a passionate number that is at once blaring and ethereal, winning with crunchy guitar and group vocals. And “Here Comes the Night Time” feels like a song coming together, with Arcade Fire stitching various strands together until pulling off on a gleeful march to hell.

Reflektor is the sound of drive and world-weariness, the fusing of two potentially incongruous elements into one gigantic block of fondness for form. In other words, it’s a Big Fucking Album.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B00F30S0Y0″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B003O85W3A” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0002IVN9W” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0009V61ZI” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000MGUZM0″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and ne'er-do-well. He also contributes to his own Canadian Cinephile and Canadian Audiophile websites. Contact Something Else! Reviews at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Share this:
Close