Between albums: We won't be right back after this break

Arcade Fire took three years between albums – and they're not the worst culprits. Fans can forget you, warns Elisa Bray

We have waited three years for Arcade Fire's third album, The Suburbs. With a gigging absence of almost the same length, that's sufficient time to push a band clearly out of their fans' consciousness. Fortunately, when it comes to a release by one of the finest and most consistent bands of our time, the time the album takes to arrive is of little matter. But for a less established band, and especially one releasing the follow-up album to their debut, a three-year wait is one year too long.

The second album is a known hurdle for bands aiming for the long haul – and why would a band make it even more difficult for themselves by leaving such a lag after their debut, losing fans along the way? It seems bands risk being forgotten.

Take Klaxons. Having burst on to the scene in 2007, winning the Mercury Prize with their No 2-charting nu-rave debut, Myths of the Near Future, there hasn't been so much as a single release ever since. And with that has slowly withered away much of that initial hype. Now that they are returning, finally, with the follow-up, Surfing the Void, later this month, there seems to be very little fanfare at all.

If we look at some of the most-hyped acts of the past decade, when Franz Ferdinand's self-titled album won them the Mercury in 2004, they returned the following year with You Could Have It So Much Better, which gained them a chart-topping success. The momentum kept them fresh. But are acts leaving the follow-up too long?

Perhaps unfairly, such hype puts more pressure on a band to deliver a follow-up that lives up to the first. Glasvegas were hailed by the Creation record label boss, Alan McGee, as "the most exciting thing I've heard since the Jesus and Mary Chain", splashed on the cover of NME as "the best new band in Britain", and went to No 2 with their self-titled debut album in 2008, and yet have hardly been heard of since. And is anybody else wondering what happened to Adele, or Duffy?

Two and a half years ago, Adele was the leading light of the solo female singer-songwriters, boasting a Mercury nomination as well as the Brits Critics' Choice award and topping the BBC's Sound of 2008 poll. Duffy also featured. Meanwhile, both those singers' positions have since been filled by countless newcomers such as Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds.

It is a possible feat to release albums in quick succession – after all, the Beatles released their first six albums in three years, while the Smiths' four studio albums arrived in consecutive years from 1984. It suggests that with such pressure, acts are struggling to deliver songs that match the quality of their early hits – but is it the bands' creative output and perfection to blame, or the record labels' fault? Perhaps labels are taking fewer risks with their releases. Klaxons might have released their album sooner had it not been for their label rejecting their first attempt at a second album, deeming their new direction as potential career suicide and packing them off to write new songs with a new producer. Anyone would agree that it is preferable to wait for an album of quality rather than one that is rushed out to capitalise on the success of an act's debut.

The process for a band's second album will be a different story to the first, as on the back of previous good sales the label might be prepared to invest more, and so take longer to develop the music and arrange a decent publicity campaign, leaving longer until the finished product hits the shelf. But the disappearing act will do bands no favours – unless, like Arcade Fire, they have continued to be championed despite the lack of new material, and know their fan-base is still strong. Best to keep it ticking over with an EP of new material, or at least a tour, in the meantime.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments