Review: Arcade Fire, Reflektor (Sonovox)
Sunday 27 October 2013
Arcade Fire wouldn’t be the first band to feel the push-pull of art and entertainment, but it’s a tension the Montreal giants tackle with furious ambition on their double, fourth album.
When singer Win Butler nudged Bono off-stage on their Saturday Night Live special, the gag was clear: we’ll take the stadiums now, thanks. But Reflektor doesn’t co-opt U2’s catch-all sentiments. Instead, it goes for grand-scale broke, often cacophonously, but in a manner that preserves its makers’ mob-handed brio, deconstructs it, questions itself and shifts gears with thrilling restlessness.
LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy’s role as co-producer stokes expectations of existential-disco work-outs, but they’re mostly answered only by “Reflektor” and “We Exist”, where a warm “Black is Black” groove and chilly lyrics chafe: it’s froideur on the dance floor. Elsewhere, “Flashbulb Eyes” stages a twisted-ragga tussle between mystique and fame’s lure. “Here Comes the Night Time” upholds this super-sized band’s uncanny fluency, lurching from carnival-esque flurries to a Caribbean lilt like a bucking, biting Talking Heads.
Making a double album sounds lofty, but disc two earns its existence by substituting explorations for disc one’s explosions. It isn’t perfect – “Porno” drags, “Supersymmetry” dissipates – but the bits that work, thrill: “After Life” builds to a glorious peak and “It’s Never Over” spikes festival-ready consolatory clichés with bracingly curt truths. Big only because Arcade Fire think big, Reflektor stretches stadium rock’s reach in the acts of self-reinvention and revitalisation. Now that’s entertainment.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassing leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories