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.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'